July 07, 2010

Work bullying linked to mental health problems

ACADEMICS at Sheffield University have uncovered new evidence of a strong link between workplace bullying and the subsequent psychological ill-health of employees.

The study, which will be presented for the first time at the Institute of Work Psychology's conference in Sheffield today, found that bullying from colleagues significantly influenced levels of stress reported seven months later. Researchers found 39 per cent of respondents reported frequent – weekly or daily – bullying from workmates in the previous six months.

Christine Sprigg, a psychology lecturer at Sheffield University, who led the research, said: "The evidence of the relationship between employee ill-health and workplace bullying is clearly shown by our data but, more importantly, we find that there might be workplace interventions – for example working to boost employee self-esteem – that can help to lessen the impact of other people's bad behaviour at work."

The research team collaborated with nine organisations and more than 5,600 employees in carrying out the study.

Dr Luise Vassie, from the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health which funded the study, said: "We're pleased this research not only adds to the existing body of knowledge on this subject, but also provides us with ideas on how the detrimental impact of bullying on worker health can be reduced."

From: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk


Beauty and Health Editor said...

When I used to work at LSBU, there was a high staff turnover in the department where I worked. When I applied for the job there were three staff vacancies. Little did I know when I was applying for the job and moving from a different department within the same University that I was leaving one department to jump into the fire.

There was a guy off sick for about 3 or 4 months before I came and I can understand why. The department was awful to work in. In fact, the worst place I have ever worked in all my life. Going in to work was a dreadful experience. That woman was awful to deal with.

Most of the staff couldn't stand her. They just used to pretend with her to make their working life more bearable or report other staff to take attention away from themselves. I remember one time she was having some work done in her office, she came and sat in our office and nobody spoke for pretty much the whole day, simply because this woman was a tyrant and nobody really wanted her in the department. She even made a comment about how quiet it was, nobody replied. I think it was very obvious why everyone was quiet.

Besides, you never really knew what to say to her, because the slightest things could spark her off.

One time I was so angry with this woman that I was crying at work and I'm not even one of these weak people. But I was so frustrated working in that department, but I needed the job, so most of the time I wouldn't say anything when she started.

I remember once she called me on my office phone from upstairs saying she wanted to see me, when I went up to see her she did not have anything tangible to tell me, probably just wanted to amke trouble as usual.

In the meantime, my Union, Unison was next to useless, I am never joining a union ever again. If I ever have to deal with such rubbish at work, I will get a Solicitor instead, makes more sense. Unions are a waste of time.

Anonymous said...

There were five FT staff members out of about 14 staff in my department who went off on long-term stress-related sick leave, thanks to the culture of bullying. I'm now permanently disabled as is my department head who was bullied out of his job. My days are filled with constant exhaustion and sadness from depression, and even now, when one of my family members opens the front door, the sound makes me jump from the ongoing effects of PTSD. I have absolutely nothing to look forward to in life, and have attempted suicide on a number of occasions. THIS is what bullying does.

Primal Oath said...

"We're pleased this research not only adds to the existing body of knowledge on this subject, but also provides us with ideas on how the detrimental impact of bullying on worker health can be reduced."

Judging by the idea of "boosting employee self-esteem", they don't quite seem to get it. The detrimental impact of bullying can only be reduced by taking action against the bully.