Coping Strategies of Neurology Nurses who Experience Verbal and Physical Abuse from Patients and Families


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The purpose of the study was to assess the incidence, intensity, and impact of verbal and physical abuse experienced by neurology nurses from patients and families, identify current coping strategies of neurology nurses, and explore the relationships between selected demographic characteristics, high and low abuse from patients and families and coping strategies.

A descriptive, exploratory research design utilizing an anonymous online survey was used for this study. The sample consisted of registered nurses living in the United States currently employed full or part-time in direct care roles with neurology patients.

A total of 112 participants were recruited from three sources: 1) a contact population of 5000 neurology nurses via email using purposive sampling design techniques through an online database service specializing in healthcare marketing and research, 2) three metropolitan hospitals with full IRB reviews and 2) invitations submitted to nursing directors at local and regional hospitals.

Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, tests of differences (analyses of covariance), and correlation (Pearson’s and Spearman’s rho and partial correlations). A statistical significance of ∂ < .05 was the standard used for this research.

Results indicated the presence of verbal and physical abuse against neurology nurses, identified coping strategies utilized, predictors of PTSD symptomatology, differences in genders on types of violence and the effects of verbal and physical abuse on coping strategy utilization.

The findings of the study enriches the current literature by confirming the occurrence of verbal and physical abuse against neurology nurses, as well as contributing new data on intensity, impact and coping strategies of neurology nursing as it relates to verbal and physical abuse by patients and families.



nursing, neurology, abuse, patients, families, coping