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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Work-unit measures of psychosocial job stressors and onset of bullying: a 2-year follow-up study

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OBJECTIVES: Numerous studies have examined the health consequences of workplace bullying, but little is known about workplace antecedents of workplace bullying. This study examines whether high psychological demands, low levels of justice at work, and low decision latitude increase the occurrence of being bullied or witnessing bullying.

METHODS: In 2007, 4489 Danish public employees answered a questionnaire with follow-ups in 2009 (72%) and 2011 (73% of 2009 respondents). We examined the longitudinal association between exposure to job stressors in 2007 and 2009 and bullying in 2009 and 2011, respectively, on an individual and work-unit level. For each working condition (psychological demands, decision latitude, procedural and relational justice), we calculated a mean value. Odds ratios were calculated by logistic regression.

RESULTS: Low levels of individual-level relational justice, compared to high levels, were associated with a higher risk of both witnessing episodes of bullying (OR 1.66, 95% CI 1.11-2.48) and perceiving oneself as a target of bullying (OR 2.21, 95% CI 1.17-4.16). Low levels of work-unit level relational justice were associated with a higher risk of witnessing bullying (OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.04-2.30) but not perceiving oneself as a target of bullying. The other workplace characteristics exhibited no or less consistent associations across the different analytical approaches.

CONCLUSION: Low levels of relational justice prospectively predicted the occurrence of workplace bullying within a 2-year period for three out of four methodological approaches, suggesting that relational justice plays a role in the prevention of workplace bullying.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Volume95
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)117-130
Number of pages14
ISSN0340-0131
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

    Research areas

  • Decision latitude, Procedural justice, Psychological demands, Relational justice, Witness bullying, Work environment

ID: 68413524