Research/studies Worker health and wellness

Studies: Workplace bullying leads to depression, other illnesses


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Muncie, IN – Workplace bullying can lead to depression and other illnesses, two separate studies recently concluded.

Workplace harassment victims suffer stress, loss of sleep, depression and anxiety, according to a study published Nov. 16 in the Journal of Community Health.

Researchers from Ball State University analyzed 17,542 people who participated in a 2010 national survey. Of those, about 8 percent reported being harassed in the workplace during that year. The researchers found that female bullying victims had higher rates of distress and migraines, while male victims were more likely to suffer from asthma and ulcers. In addition, victims of bullying were more likely to be obese or smoke.

In another study published in the December issue of the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, researchers from Bispebjerg University Hospital in Copenhagen analyzed data from 5,200 Danish workers who filled out a survey in 2006-2007 on workplace bullying.

The risk of new-onset depression was twice as likely for workers who reported being occasionally bullied, and the risk was nearly 10 times higher for workers who reported being frequently bullied, the Danish study concluded.

Jagdish Khubchandani, lead author on the Ball State study, called on employers to take steps to eliminate workplace harassment, saying this could help reduce employer costs in addition to improving workers’ lives.