Workplace violence and drug use in women workers in a Peruvian Barrio

F Y Musayón Oblitas, C Caufield
International Nursing Review 2007, 54 (4): 339-45

AIM: This exploratory and descriptive study explored the relationship between workplace violence and drug use in women. It also explored the perception of women workers on the relationship between workplace violence and drug use.

BACKGROUND: The World Health Organization and the United Nations recognize violence against women and have adopted a definition of it. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reports that violence in the workplace has increased 300% over the last decade. Alcohol misuse, occupation and gender are associated with aggression in the workplace. Estimations of the incidence of non-fatal injuries sustained because of workplace violence and evaluations of the associated risk factors have rarely been documented.

METHODS: 125 women workers between the ages of 18 and 60 years were surveyed in four suburbs of Zapallal, Lima. Of the 125 women, 28.8% experienced violence in the workplace. Of the 36 women who had experienced violence in the workplace, 16 agreed to participate in interviews to explore their perceptions. The data were saturated with the 16 interviews.

FINDINGS: Of the 125 workers surveyed 17.6% experienced verbal violence, 9.6%% experienced physical violence, and 1.6% were sexually harassed in their workplace. Women who were verbally abused demonstrated eight times greater risk of drug use than those who did not experience this type of violence in their workplace.

CONCLUSION: This paper contributes to an understanding of the relationships among drug abuse, gender and the incidence of violence in the workplace; it documents the perception women have of these relationships; and it supports the development of programmes and strategies related to the prevention of workplace violence and drug consumption by women workers.

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