Coping with bullying at work and health related problems

F. Dehue, C. Bolman, T. Völlink, M. Pouwelse

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    This study investigated bullying in the workplace. More specifically, it explored the mental and physical health consequences of being bullied in the workplace and the role of coping as a moderating variable among 361 people living in the Netherlands who, at the time of the study, were employed for at least eight hours a week in an organization where they have both colleagues and a manager. Of these 361 employees, 139 (39%) reported having experienced at least one form of bullying listed in the questionnaire at least once a month and 64 (18%) reported having experienced at least one form of bullying once a week. Employees reporting weekly bullying also reported more health problems and poorer well-being, and were more frequently absent from work, than employees who reported monthly bullying or no bullying at all. Those who had been bullied on a weekly basis were also more inclined to cope with problems via compensation than those who were not bullied. The coping strategies of compensation, denial, and the adoption of an active positive attitude toward problem situations were found to moderate the relationship between being bullied, on the one hand, and health problems, well-being, and absenteeism, on the other. Unfortunately, these coping strategies as a response to being bullied have a detrimental effect on bullied individuals’ health and well-being, and are related to increased absenteeism. Additionally, negative organizational and leadership characteristics were found to be associated with bullying experiences at work.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)175-197
    Number of pages23
    JournalInternational Journal of Stress Management
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


    • bullying
    • coping
    • health complaints
    • well-being
    • absenteeism


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