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Title: Managing patient aggression in healthcare : initial testing of a communication accommodation theory intervention
Authors: Pines, R
Giles, H
Watson, B 
Issue Date: Jan-2021
Source: Psychology of language & communication, Jan. 2021, v. 25, no. 1, p. 62-81
Abstract: Patient-perpetrated workplace violence (WPV) in healthcare is common. Although communication skills trainings are helpful, they may be strengthened by having a theoretical framework to improve replicability across contexts. This study developed and conducted an initial test of a training framed by Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT) using longitudinal mixed-methods surveys of healthcare professionals in an American primary care clinic to increase their self-efficacy, patient cooperation, and use of CAT strategies to de-escalate patient aggression. Results of the intervention indicate that the CAT training significantly increased professionals' efficacy and reported patient cooperation over time. Findings showed that those who reported using more of the five CAT strategies also reported situations that they were able to de-escalate effectively. This initial test of a CAT training to prevent WPV demonstrates promise for the applicability of CAT strategies to de-escalate patient aggression, and the need to scale and test these trainings in settings that experience high WPV levels.
Keywords: Communication accommodation theory
Workplace violence
Publisher: University of Warsaw
Journal: Psychology of language & communication 
ISSN: 1234-2238
EISSN: 2083-8506
DOI: 10.2478/plc-2021-0004
Rights: © 2021 Rachyl Pines et al., published by Sciendo This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (
The following publication Pines, R., Giles, H., & Watson, B. (2021). Managing patient aggression in healthcare: Initial testing of a communication accommodation theory intervention. Psychology of Language and Communication, 25(1), 62-81 is available at
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