Table 2

Definitions relevant to the analysis

ConstructDefinition and significance
Occupational Safety and Health Administration definition of WPV“Workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. It ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide”.57
Cognitive appraisalThe process of an individual evaluating the personal significance or relevance of a stressful event and its related components to his/her well-being.32 Cognitive appraisals then drive the individual’s selection of coping mechanism and partially mediate stressor impact and work-related outcomes.37 58
Primary cognitive appraisalProcess of an individual evaluating whether s/he has anything at stake during a stressful encounter; that is, harm to physical self, loss of self-esteem, ability to learn or improve, etc.32 Primary appraisals can be categorised as harmful, threatening or challenging.
Secondary cognitive appraisalProcess of evaluating the ability to respond to the situation; that is, having the necessary resources or skills to deal with the stressful event.33 This relates to the individual’s assessment that they can (1) directly address the stressor and (2) cope with the event.32
CopingConscious use of cognitive and/or behavioural strategies that is intended to decrease perceived stress or increase resources available to deal with stress. Can be further delineated into those efforts directed at processing the stressful event to improve understanding or foster resourcefulness (approach coping) and those directed at physically or mentally avoiding unpleasant thoughts related to the stressful event (avoidance coping).35 36
Burn-outA psychological syndrome consisting of three components: emotional exhaustion, a tendency to depersonalise client encounters and a reduced sense of personal accomplishment.40
  • WPV, workplace violence.