The last resort: Workplace bullying and the consequences of changing jobs

Michael Rosander*, Denise Salin, Stefan Blomberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study investigated the consequences of changing jobs for employees subjected to workplace bullying. First, we hypothesized that bullied employees would be more likely to change jobs than non-bullied employees. Moreover, we hypothesized that changing jobs would result in a reduction of exposure to bullying behaviors and an alleviation of mental health problems for those bullied at baseline. The study was based on a longitudinal probability sample of the whole Swedish workforce (n = 1,095). The time lag was 18 months. The results supported all hypotheses except one. Those employees who were bullied at baseline were more likely to have changed jobs at follow-up. Also, for the changers there was a reduction in exposure to subsequent bullying. The actual drop in exposure to bullying behaviors was significant and substantial. This gives further support for the work environment hypothesis, suggesting the work context may be a more important cause than individual characteristics. As for mental health problems, the association between bullying and subsequent anxiety was not significant for those changing jobs, suggesting that leaving a toxic workplace may reduce anxiety relatively quickly. However, depression symptoms were not affected by the change of jobs, and the association between bullying and subsequent depression was the same 18 months later. The conclusion is that changing jobs can be a useful, last resort on an individual level, improving the situation for the victim of bullying. However, it is important to note that it does not solve any underlying organizational problems and risk factors.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
Volume63
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)124-135
ISSN0036-5564
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21.01.2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed

Keywords

  • 515 Psychology
  • workplace bullying
  • job change
  • mental health problems
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • employee turnover
  • 512 Business and Management

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Leading for growth and well-being

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