A cross-sectional research design was used for this study. Data were collected in August 2021 through online surveys of 3,060 randomly selected social workers from 63,305 Korean social workers currently working in outpatient and residential facilities. The questionnaire included an experience of any types of direct client violence (e.g., physical, verbal, emotional, sexual) in the past 12 months, fear of future violence (Rogers & Kelloway, 1997), burnout (Maslach & Jackson, 1981), and turnover intentions (Kim, 1997). The extent of the implementation of workplace violence prevention programs is assessed as a summed score of the five-item workplace violence policy checklist. Age, gender, education, tenure, and stress due to the workloads were used as control variables. A serial mediation, moderation, and moderated mediation analyses were conducted using SPSS 26.0 and PROCESS macro v.4.0 (model 6 and model85).
The results show that about 62.9% (N=1924) of social workers reported that they had client violence experiences in the past year. The most frequently experienced forms of violence were verbal violence (N=1,459, 47.7%), followed by physical violence (N=943, 30.8%). Also, 57.4% (N=1,757) of respondents reported that the organization has written workplace violence prevention manuals, and 62% (N=1,894) reported that the organization regularly provides prevention education and training to workers. The total indirect effect was significant (B=.24, SE=.03, CI [.19,.30], and all three indirect effects were significant (experience of client violenceà fear of future violenceà turnover; experience of client violence à burnoutà turnover; experience of client violence à fear of future violenceà burnoutà turnover). The index of moderated mediation was significant for the indirect effect of workplace violence on turnover intention through fear of future violence (B= -.02, SE=.01, CI [-.02, -.01], indicating that if organizations have well-written manuals and implemented violence prevention programs, it would reduce individuals' fear of future violence, and consequently reduce burnout and turnover intentions. The study provides implications for managers and administrators in strengthening workplace violence programs to adequately address the impact of client violence on turnover.