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N Z Vet J. 2018 Mar;66(2):57-63. doi: 10.1080/00480169.2017.1395715. Epub 2017 Nov 2.

Workplace bullying and relationships with health and performance among a sample of New Zealand veterinarians.

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a School of Psychology , Massey University , Palmerston North , New Zealand.
b School of Psychology , Massey University , Albany, Auckland , New Zealand.



To examine the relationships between workplace bullying, destructive leadership and team conflict, and physical health, strain, self-reported performance and intentions to quit among veterinarians in New Zealand, and how these relationships could be moderated by psychological capital and perceived organisational support.


Data were collected by means of an online survey, distributed to members of the New Zealand Veterinary Association. Participation was voluntary and all responses were anonymous and confidential. Scores for the variables measured were based on responses to questions or statements with responses categorised on a linear scale. A series of regression analyses were used to assess mediation or moderation by intermediate variables on the relationships between predictor variables and dependent variables.


Completed surveys were provided by 197 veterinarians, of which 32 (16.2%) had been bullied at work, i.e. they had experienced two or more negative acts at least weekly over the previous 6 months, and nine (4.6%) had experienced cyber-bullying. Mean scores for workplace bullying were higher for female than male respondents, and for non-managers than managers (p<0.01). Scores for workplace bullying were positively associated with scores for destructive leadership and team conflict, physical health, strain, and intentions to quit (p<0.001). Workplace bullying and team conflict mediated the relationship between destructive leadership and strain, physical health and intentions to quit. Perceived organisational support moderated the effects of workplace bullying on strain and self-reported job performance (p<0.05).


Relatively high rates of negative behaviour were reported by veterinarians in this study, with 16% of participants meeting an established criterion for having been bullied. The negative effects of destructive leadership on strain, physical health and intentions to quit were mediated by team conflict and workplace bullying. It should be noted that the findings of this study were based on a survey of self-selected participants and the findings may not represent the wider population of New Zealand veterinarians.


Bullying; cyber-bullying; health; leadership; stress; veterinarian

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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