L’étude a exploré les conditions qui augmentent la justification de l’agression contre les infirmières, du point de vue d’une tierce partie. Les résultats montrent que la détresse de l’agresseur, ainsi que la qualité de la communication de l’infirmière attaquée affectent la justification de l’agression. Les résultats contribuent à la connaissance des causes des agressions contre les infirmières et soulignent la nécessité d’une politique de soins de santé et d’activités d’éducation publique visant à miner l’idée que l’agression contre les infirmières peut se justifier.
Aims To explore conditions that contribute to justification of aggression against nurses. Design A 2 (aggressor distress as reflected in stressful behavior: high vs. low) X 2 (target nurse’s communication quality as reflected in provision of information and expression of caring: high vs. low) factorial design. Communication quality was operationalized as caring for half the respondents and information provision for the other half. Methods Data were collected online in 2018. Respondents (N = 305) were presented with one of eight versions of a hypothetical vignette. Aggressor distress and caring were manipulated for half the participants and aggressor distress and information provision for the other half. After reading the vignette, respondents reported their attitudes toward the aggressor’s behavior and sense of warmth toward the target nurse. Additional data collected included trait empathy (a control variable), demographic variables and responses to a manipulation check. Data were analyzed using analyses of variance. Findings The results show main effects of aggressor distress and nurse communication quality on justification of aggression and sense of warmth toward the nurse. An interaction effect between aggressor distress and (poor) nurse information provision was found on justification of aggression. Conclusion The results extend extant research on the causes of aggression against nurses by highlighting a tendency to view certain circumstances as justifying such behavior. Impact The study explored conditions that increase the justification of aggression against nurses, from the perspective of a third party. The results show that aggressor’s distress, as well as the attacked nurse’s communication quality affect the justification of aggression. The results contribute to knowledge about the causes of aggression against nurses and highlight the need for healthcare policy and public education activities designed to undermine the view that aggression against nurses can be justified.