Prevalence, characteristics and causes of aggressive behaviour observed within a neurobehavioural rehabilitation service: predictors and implications for management.

Research paper by Nick N Alderman

Indexed on: 31 Aug '07Published on: 31 Aug '07Published in: Brain injury


To describe the characteristics and determinants of aggressive behaviour observed within a neurobehavioural unit.Statistical analysis of a database of routinely administered clinical measures, including the Overt Aggression Scale-Modified for Neurorehabilitation.Records of aggressive behaviour shown by 108 patients over 14 days were studied. Patient characteristics were also captured using 23 items from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago-Functional Assessment Scale. Four factors were identified: 'communication', 'cognition/function', 'neurobehavioural disability' and 'mood & self-esteem'. Relationships between patient characteristics, external factors and their interactions with aggression were examined.Many (5548) episodes of aggression were recorded. Whilst most comprised verbal aggression, 729 physical assaults were made on others. Aggressive behaviour typically followed staff prompting or no obvious antecedent. Medical intervention was rare, most aggression was managed by staff not reinforcing this behaviour. Over 80% of physical assaults were made by people rated as having severe symptoms of neurobehavioural disability and poor communication.Neurobehavioural units require sufficient staff resources to engage patients in purposeful activities as these were associated with the least severe aggression. Despite increased OAS-MNR usage, a standardized methodology for investigating aggression is required to ensure compatibility between datasets.