Using videocameras, the authors detected 134 assaults by 40 of 113
patients treated over a 23-month period on a 14-bed intensive ward for
violent psychiatric patients. After assailants were approached by an
interviewer to obtain their explanations for the assaults, investigators
analyzed the content of their responses by assigning up to four themes to
each response. Most frequently the patient refused to be interviewed.
Assailants who cooperated often claimed to have been playing with the
victim, complained of verbal abuse, or said they wanted to stop
objectionable behaviors by the victim. The results suggest that assailants
may perceive some behaviors by victims as provocations.