Work-related violence against educators in Minnesota: Rates and risks based on hours exposed

Chia Wei, Susan G. Gerberich, Bruce H. Alexander, Andy D. Ryan, Nancy M. Nachreiner, Steve J. Mongin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Problem Violence is a major occupational problem; yet, rigorous studies focused on educators to address this problem are limited. The objective was to identify educators' potential risks for physical assault (PA) and nonphysical violence (NPV), based on hours exposed. Methods A total of 4,731 licensed kindergarten through grade 12 Minnesota educators, identified from the Minnesota Department of Education database, participated. Specially designed mailed questionnaires (12-month recall) enabled data collection. Calculated PA and NPV rates, per 100,000 working hours, used Poisson regression. Directed acyclic graphs identified confounders for multivariable analysis, adjusted for non-response and unknown eligibility. Results The total PA rate was 5.3; PA risks increased for educators who: were non-married versus married; held master's degrees, or education specialist degrees, versus associate/bachelor's degrees; worked in public alternative and various school types, versus public schools; worked as social workers, in special education or multiple activities, versus standard classroom teaching; worked with < 10, versus 10 to < 25 students in the class. The total NPV rate was 26.4; subcategory rates were: threat (34.8); sexual harassment (7.6); verbal abuse (55.5); bullying (19.6). Increased risks for NPV included: 30-39 and 60-79, versus 50-59 years of age; non-married versus married; working in public alternative versus public schools; working part-time or substitute, versus full-time; teaching in special education or multiple activities, versus standard classroom teaching; teaching in class sizes < 10 and ≥ 25, versus 10-24 students; teaching in grades 3-12 and multiple grades, versus kindergarten to second grade. The investigated results for PA and NPV were similar, with a few exceptions. Discussion and Impact on Industry Results from this study provided information about factors associated with increased and decreased risks for violence against educators, based on hours worked. In addition, they provided a basis for further investigations to reduce violence against educators in the school environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-85
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Safety Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Support for this effort was provided, in part, by: the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (R01 OH 007816), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services; the Center for Violence Prevention and Control and the Regional Injury Prevention Research Center, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota; and the Nancy A. Robertson Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Injury Prevention. The contents of this effort are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or other associated entities. We also wish to acknowledge the support of our Educational Advisory Consulting Team members who were integral to this study: Willarene Beasley, Charles Goodwin, Donald Hilts, Laura R. Langhoff, and Joseph P. Miller.


  • Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAG)
  • Nonphysical violence
  • Occupational violence
  • Physical assault
  • Risk factors


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