The social distribution of risk at work: acute injuries and physical assaults among healthcare workers working in a long-term care facility.


Journal Article

The roles of informal social ties in affecting healthcare workers' risk of injury and assault were investigated in a long-term care facility for the elderly in the US. The original hypothesis was that nurses and healthcare assistants who integrated more with their coworkers would have lower risk. A crude measure of familiarity and social integration with coworkers was constructed from staff attendance records. This variable, which indicates working a floor and shift one has routinely worked on in the past, was associated with a moderate increase in risk of being injured after controlling for lifting demands and a fairly strong increased risk of being assaulted after controlling for resident combativeness. An interaction between social integration and job title was found. The primary associations were in the opposite direction of what was expected. The results suggest that social forces among healthcare workers shape the distribution of risk among workers in a manner more complex than some theories of social integration have suggested. New hypotheses are proposed to explore how social norms and expectations affect the way workers interact with each other and shape the distribution of risk among workgroup members.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Myers, DJ; Kriebel, D; Karasek, R; Punnett, L; Wegman, DH

Published Date

  • February 2007

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 64 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 794 - 806

PubMed ID

  • 17137695

Pubmed Central ID

  • 17137695

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0277-9536

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.socscimed.2006.10.027


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England