BACKGROUND: Although violence toward caregivers occurs often and caregivers' ability to interact and deal with difficult situations is relevant in preventing such violence, few studies have been conducted that focus on caregivers' characteristics. AIM: This study explores the relationship between perceived exposure to violence and demographical factors, parental rearing, personality traits including coping abilities, defence styles, and burnout among caregivers working in nursing homes. METHOD: A total of 196 caregivers working in nursing homes were included. They were asked to complete questionnaires concerning demographical factors and exposure to violence. One group of female caregivers reporting no exposure to violence (n = 20) was matched with one group of exposed to violence (n = 20). Both groups were asked to complete questionnaires concerning parental rearing, personality traits, coping abilities, and burnout. RESULT: Around 68.4% of the caregivers had been exposed to violence during the previous year and 22.4% several times a week. Caregivers 50 years of age or younger and employed in geriatric care for more than 3 years were more frequently exposed to violence. Inter-group differences were found regarding 'maternal rejection' and 'burnout'. No statistical differences could be found concerning defence styles, coping ability, temperament, or character aspects. CONCLUSION: Violence toward caregivers occurs frequently and appears to be influenced by several factors. 'Maternal rejection' and 'burnout' among caregivers exposed to violence might influence the communication between caregivers and residents, rendering more violence. However, personality traits among caregivers do not seem to be associated with exposure to violence.