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Logo of bmcpsycBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Psychiatry
BMC Psychiatry. 2011; 11: 44.
Published online 2011 March 18. doi:  10.1186/1471-244X-11-44
PMCID: PMC3068951

Short-term prediction of threatening and violent behaviour in an Acute Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit based on patient and environment characteristics



The aims of the present study were to investigate clinically relevant patient and environment-related predictive factors for threats and violent incidents the first three days in a PICU population based on evaluations done at admittance.


In 2000 and 2001 all 118 consecutive patients were assessed at admittance to a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Patient-related conditions as actuarial data from present admission, global clinical evaluations by physician at admittance and clinical nurses first day, a single rating with an observer rated scale scoring behaviours that predict short-term violence in psychiatric inpatients (The Brøset Violence Checklist (BVC)) at admittance, and environment-related conditions as use of segregation or not were related to the outcome measure Staff Observation Aggression Scale-Revised (SOAS-R). A multiple logistic regression analysis with SOAS-R as outcome variable was performed.


The global clinical evaluations and the BVC were effective and more suitable than actuarial data in predicting short-term aggression. The use of segregation reduced the number of SOAS-R incidents.


In a naturalistic group of patients in a PICU segregation of patients lowers the number of aggressive and threatening incidents. Prediction should be based on clinical global judgment, and instruments designed to predict short-term aggression in psychiatric inpatients.

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