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This study looked at patient aggressive behaviour on an Irish psychiatric intensive care unit, and whether it was related to diagnosis, patient's insight and symptomatology. Each aggressive incident was recorded throughout the patient's stay using the Staff-Observed Aggression Scale.
Ninety-nine individuals were admitted to the unit during the study. We recorded 82 aggressive incidents, with most occurring during the daytime and on weekdays. There was no statistical difference in BPRS scores between the aggressive and non-aggressive groups. the aggressive patient group had a lower insight score than the non-aggressive group (P < 0.05) as measured on the Schedule of the Assessment of Insight. However, when gender and verbal aggression only were included in the analysis, the difference in insight was less significant (P=0.07).
Aggression is common on a psychiatric intensive care unit. Low levels of insight in patients may increase the risk of aggression.