chapter  4
22 Pages

Individual Consequences of Workplace Bullying/Mobbing

ByAnnie Hogh, Eva Gemzøe Mikkelsen, Åse Marie Hansen

Over the past three decades, research into the consequences of bullying at work has shown that exposure to systematic negative behavior at work such as bullying or mobbing may have devastating effects on the health and well-being of the exposed individuals. The early research consisted mostly of cross-sectional studies, a few case-control studies, and clinical interviews with bullied people. The studies found correlations between exposure to bullying and chronic fatigue; psychosomatic, psychological, and physical symptoms; general stress; insomnia; and mental stress reactions (for reviews, see, e.g., Dofradottir and Høgh, 2002; Einarsen and Mikkelsen,

CONTENTS

Introduction ......................................................................................................... 107 Stress Theory ........................................................................................................ 108 The New Evidence .............................................................................................. 109

Cross-Sectional Studies ............................................................................. 109 Psychological Stress Reactions, Absence and Substance

Abuse ................................................................................ 109 Sleep Problems ............................................................................... 110 Negative Acts and Health Problems ........................................... 111 Summary ......................................................................................... 112

Longitudinal Studies ................................................................................. 112 Summary ......................................................................................... 114

Physiological Reactions ............................................................................. 114 Bullying as a Traumatic Event ................................................................. 115 Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ................................................................ 116 Stress and the Coping Process ................................................................. 117 Personality and Individual Differences .................................................. 119

Conclusion ........................................................................................................... 121 References ............................................................................................................. 122

2003; Moayed et al., 2006). Common symptoms such as musculoskeletal complaints, anxiety, irritability, and depression were reported by targets in different European countries (Einarsen et al., 1996; Niedl, 1996; O’Moore et al., 1998; Zapf et al., 1996b). Some victims displayed a pattern of symptoms indicative of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Björkqvist et al., 1994; Einarsen et al., 1999; Leymann and Gustafsson, 1996; Mikkelsen and Einarsen, 2002). Self-hatred and suicidal thoughts have also been reported (Einarsen et al., 1994; Thylefors, 1987). Qualitative studies (Kile, 1990; Mikkelsen and Iversen, 2002; O’Moore et al., 1998; Price Spratlen, 1995; Thylefors, 1987) have demonstrated consequences such as reduced self-confi dence, low self-worth, shyness, and an increased sense of vulnerability as well as feelings of guilt and self-contempt. Indeed, many targets reported that their physical health and mental well-being had been permanently damaged (Mikkelsen, 2001b). Not surprisingly, exposure to bullying seemed to be associated with increased sickness absence (Kivimäki et al., 2000), risk of unemployment (Einarsen et al., 1999; Mikkelsen and Iversen, 2002), and early retirement (Matthiesen et al., 1989).