Victimization and witnessing of workplace bullying and physician-diagnosed physical and mental health and organizational outcomes: A cross-sectional study

Kanami Tsuno, Norito Kawakami, Akizumi Tsutsumi, Akihito Shimazu, Akiomi Inoue, Yuko Odagiri, Teruichi Shimomitsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background Compared to the numerous reports on mental health outcomes of workplace bullying victims, research on organizational outcomes of witnesses and physical health outcomes of victims and witnesses is scarce. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between bullying victimization and witnessing and various physical and mental health outcomes and organizational outcomes such as sickness absence, work performance, and job satisfaction. Methods This study used cross-sectional data from a nationally representative, community-based sample of 5,000 Japanese residents aged 20–60. We analyzed data from 1,496 respondents after excluding those not working at the time of the survey and those with missing values. Workplace bullying, psychological distress, physical complaints, and job satisfaction were assessed with the New Brief Job Stress Questionnaire and work performance with the World Health Organization’s Health and Work Performance Questionnaire. In addition, subjective health status, physician-diagnosed mental or physical illness, and sickness absence were asked as one item. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis or Poisson regression analysis was conducted to assess the association between victimization/witnessing workplace bullying and health and organizational outcomes. Results Both victimization and witnessing workplace bullying were significantly associated with psychological distress, physical complaints, subjective poor health, physician-diagnosed mental disorders, and job dissatisfaction. Victimization of workplace bullying was further associated with physician-diagnosed respiratory diseases, sickness absence (7 days), and poor work performance. Victims were absent from work for 4.5 more sick days and had 11.2% lower work performance than non-victims. Conclusions The results showed that both victimization and witnessing workplace bullying were significantly associated with physical and mental outcomes and various organizational outcomes. Organizations should implement further measures to prevent personal and organizational losses due to workplace bullying.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0265863
JournalPloS one
Volume17
Issue number10 October
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Oct

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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