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Scand J Psychol. 2010 Oct;51(5):426-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9450.2010.00813.x.

The relative impact of workplace bullying as a social stressor at work.

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University of Bergen, Norway.


Exposure to workplace bullying has been argued to be a severe social stressor and a more crippling and devastating problem for affected individuals than the effects of all other work-related stressors put together. However, few studies have explicitly investigated this assumption. In a representative sample of the Norwegian working population, the present study investigated the relative contribution of workplace bullying as a predictor of individual and organizational related outcomes after controlling for the well-documented job stressors of job demands, decision authority, role ambiguity and role conflict. Bullying was found to be a significant predictor of all the outcomes included, showing a substantial relative contribution in relation to anxiety and depression, while for job satisfaction, turnover intention and absenteeism, more modest relative contributions were identified. Workplace bullying is indeed a potent social stressor with consequences similar to, or even more severe than, the effects of other stressors frequently encountered within organizations. Thus, the finding that bullying has a considerable effect on exposed individuals also when controlling for the effects of other job stressors demonstrates bullying as a serious problem at workplaces that needs to be actively prevented and managed in its own right.


Bullying; anxiety; depression; harassment; job stress

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