Introduction In the 24 hour society, night workers encounter more chance of violence. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of work-related violence and the mental health problems related to the work-related violence of young adults who worked as night workers in South Korea.
Methods The survey was conducted among 507 night workers aged 19–29 who worked in convenience stores, coffee shops, and fast-food restaurants in Seoul, South Korea. The data were obtained by well-trained interviewers with a structured questionnaire. Work-related violence was defined as a physical attack, verbal abuse, sexual harassment, and bullying that occurred in work-related situations or circumstances. The risks of post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, and depression were measured using the impact event scale-revised scores, insomnia severity index, and PHQ-9, respectively.
Results Among total 507 night workers included in the study, 159 (31.4%) had experienced at least one violent incident during their work hours. Among workers who had experienced violence in the workplace, verbal abuse was the most common type. The prevalence of work-related violence increased with longer night working time and longer tenure. Regardless of the type of violence, most of the perpetrators were found to be customers. We observed that 27 (17.0%) of the workers who had experienced violence were at high risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Furthermore, the night workers who had experienced sexual harassment and bullying were shown to have a 41% and 67% higher risk of PTSD, respectively. In addition, we found that night workers who had experienced work-related violence were subject to 3.0 and 3.2 times increased risk of insomnia (95% CI: 1.98 to 4.62) and depression (95% CI: 1.91 to 5.38), respectively.
Conclusion Work-related violence which night workers experienced could be a risk factor for mental illness. Protective intervention against violence toward night workers is urgently needed.
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