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Prevalence and associated factors of sexual, psychological, and physical violence among Physical Therapists in their clinical role in Spain: A national web-based cross-sectional survey.

OBJECTIVES: To determine the extent of career-long and 12-month exposure to sexual, physical and psychological/verbal violence committed by patients or their companions among physical therapists in Spain. Additionally, to identify the factors associated with such exposure.

METHODS: This study employed an observational cross-sectional approach. Initially, a questionnaire was developed and validated using a convenience sample. Subsequently, it was distributed via e-mail to all physical therapists registered in Spain in the first quarter of 2022. Individual risk models were created for each type of violence experienced within the past 12 months.

RESULTS: The prevalence of violence encountered by physical therapists throughout their careers were 47.9% for sexual violence, 42.7% for psychological/verbal abuse, and 17.6 % for physical abuse. Lower values were observed within the last 12 months (13.4%, 15.8% and 5.2%, respectively). Statistical risk modeling for each type of violence experienced in the past 12 months indicated that the common precipitating factor for all forms of violence was working with patients with cognitive impairment. Working part-time appeared to be a protective factor. Other factors, such as the practitioners' gender, practice setting, or clinic location showed variations among the diverse types of violence.

CONCLUSIONS: The exposure to type II workplace violence within the last 12 months among physical therapists in Spain (Europe) is not so high as in some other world regions. Various individual, clinical, and professional/organizational risk factors have been identified in connection with type II workplace violence. Further research is warranted to compare the violence experienced once the COVID pandemic has subsided.

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