Learning for life: Verbal abuse

Life Long Learning and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) are the
processes by which professionals, such as nurses, develop and improve their

There are many ways to address CPD: formally, through attending courses,
study days and workshops; or informally, through private study and reflection.
Reading articles in professional journals is a good way of keeping up-to-date
with what is going on in the field of practice, but reflecting and identifying
what you have learned is not always easy.

These questions are designed to help you to identify what you have learned
from studying the article. They will also help you to clarify what you can
apply to practice, what you did not understand and what you need to explore

1. What makes up 90 per cent of reported incidents of violence?

a) Physical abuse
b) Verbal abuse
c) Domestic violence
d) Rape

2. ‘Language intended to cause distress to the target’ is whose
definition of verbal abuse?

a) HSE
b) Cooper
c) The author
d) NHS

3. In the study, N =

a) 66
b) 100
c) 160
d) 166

4. Which statement did the majority of females find distressing?

a) 10
b) 12
c) 6
d) 15

5. Who did more than a quarter of the respondents identify as the
perpetrators of verbal abuse?

a) Customers and colleagues
b) Colleagues and managers
c) Managers and customers
d) Managers and patients

6. Violence became a serious health and safety issue as a result of which

a) Management of workplace health and safety
b) Human Rights Act
d) Mental Health Act

7. Scoring verbal abuse is called:

a) Cognitive restructuring
b) Body mapping
c) Self talk
d) Putting it into perspective

8. Mantras enable us to develop:

a) Firewalls
b) Virus checks
c) Fire doors
d) Virus eliminators

9. Verbal abuse can produce symptoms similar to:

a) Depression
b) Post-traumatic stress disorder
c) Psychotic illness
d) Manic depression

10. Which of the following do victims of violence not experience?

a) Fatigue
b) Crying
c) Toothache
d) Sleep disturbance


1) b 2) c – Consider the three definitions given and
write your own definition. 3) d – Do you understand the term ‘N’ used in
research studies? If not, look it up in one of the books on research. 4) a –
Read through the list and decide which statement you would find the most
distressing. Then ask your colleagues how they feel, and discuss all of your
feelings. 5) b – Revisit your company policy on bullying and harassment
and consider the implications for the abused and the abuser. In light of this
article, does it deal adequately with verbal abuse situations? 6) c 7) d
– Read through these coping mechanisms again, study them carefully and reflect
on times when you have used these mechanisms yourself. Were they effective for
you? If not, do you know why? 8) a 9) b – Review and update your
knowledge of post-traumatic stress disorder – see Resources Guide, page 29. 10)
– The answers to 9 and 10 are those given in the text, but all of them
could be right. Who is to say that verbal abuse cannot push someone vulnerable
over the edge? And clenching the teeth when extremely stressed could cause

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