Guardians and handlers: the role of bar staff in preventing and managing aggression

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Title Guardians and handlers: the role of bar staff in preventing and managing aggression
Author Graham, Kathryn; Bernards, Sharon; Osgood, D. Wayne; Homel, Ross; Purcell, John
Journal Name Addiction
Editor Griffith Edwards
Year Published 2005
Place of publication UK
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
Abstract Aims: To identify good and bad behaviors by bar staff in aggressive incidents, the extent these behaviors apparently reflect aggressive intent, and the association of aggressive staff behavior with level of aggression by patrons. Design, setting and participants: Data on staff behavior in incidents of aggression were collected by 148 trained observers in bars and clubs on Friday and Saturday night between midnight and 2 a.m. in Toronto, Canada. Behaviors of 809 staff involved in 417 incidents at 74 different bars/clubs were analysed using descriptive statistics and three-level hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) analyses. Measurements: Observers’ ratings of 28 staff behaviors were used to construct two scales that measured escalating/aggressive aspects of staff behavior. Apparent intent level for bar staff was dichotomized into (1) no aggressive intent versus (2) probable or definite aggressive intent. Five levels of patron aggression were defined: no aggression, non-physical, minor physical, moderate physical and severe physical. Findings: The most common aggressive behaviors of staff were identified. Staff were most aggressive when patrons were either non-aggressive or highly aggressive and staff were least aggressive when patrons exhibited non-physical aggression or minor physical aggression. Taking apparent intent into consideration decreased staff aggression scores for incidents in which patrons were highly aggressive indicating that some aggression by staff in these instances had non-aggressive intent (e.g. to prevent injury); however, apparent intent had little effect on staff aggression scores in incidents with non-aggressive patrons. Conclusion: Although there is potential for staff to act as guardians or handlers, they often themselves became offenders when they responded to barroom problems. The practical implications are different for staff aggression with nonaggressive patrons versus with aggressive patrons. KEYWORDS: Alcohol and aggression, bar staff, drinking environment, licensed premises.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Alternative URI
Volume 100
Issue Number 6
Page from 755
Page to 766
ISSN 0965-2140
Date Accessioned 2006-03-17
Date Available 2015-02-02T04:16:45Z
Language en_US
Research Centre Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance
Faculty Arts, Education and Law
Subject PRE2009-Social and Community Psychology
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1

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