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."

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