Predicting Violent Behavior
The best predictor of violent behavior is past violence. Since it’s unlikely you will be privy to such history, however, it’s important for you to pay attention to current behavior.
Warning Signs That May Precede or be Indicative of Violent Behavior
- Threatening statements about killing/harming self or others, direct or veiled
- References to or preoccupation with other incidents of workplace violence.
- Intimidating, belligerent, insubordinate, defiant or challenging behavior
- Confrontational, angry, easily provoked, unpredictable, restless or agitated behavior
- History of violent, reckless or antisocial behavior
- Alleged fondness or fascination with firearms
- Feelings of persecution.
- Blaming others for anything that goes wrong, while disavowing any responsibility Intolerance of differences
- Marked decline in school or job performance
- Changes in personality, mood or behavior
- Excessive crying
- Decline in personal grooming
- Crosses interpersonal boundaries (e.g., excessive phone calls, personal e-mails and/or visits)
- Substance abuse
- Cultural issues, e.g., disgrace for failing
- Significant personal stress (e.g., academic, financial, family or relationship problems)
Relationship violence is the most common form of violence to spill over into the workplace. In a study produced by the Justice Department and Centers for Disease Control in 2000, almost 25 percent of women and 7 percent of men reported that they had been assaulted by a current or former partner. While many victims often feel safer at work than home, they often endure threats and harassing phone calls and e-mails from partners who know exactly where to find them during work hours.
Signs of Relationship Violence
- Anxiousness, crying, depression
- Frequent or sudden unscheduled absences
- Frequent tardiness or leaving work early
- Fluctuations in the quality of work for no apparent reason
- Difficulty concentrating and decreased productivity
- Isolation from colleagues and social activities
- Excessive number of phone calls or e-mails from family members
- Disruptive personal visits to the workplace
- Visible injuries, often with an explanation of an “accident”; multiple injuries in different stages of healing; unexplained delay in seeking medical treatment for injuries
- Stress-related illnesses and/or anxiety-related conditions, such as heart palpitations, hyperventilation and panic attacks