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One-year prospective study on the effect of workplace bullying on long-term sickness absence

Authors

  • ADRIAN ORTEGA PhD,

    1. Visiting Assistant Professor, Universidad Tecnológica del Centro, Departamento de Ciencias Administrativas y Gerenciales. Guacara, Venezuela
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  • KARL B. CHRISTENSEN PhD,

    1. Associate Professor, Department of Biostatistics, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen
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  • ANNIE HOGH PhD,

    1. Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen
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  • REINER RUGULIES PhD,

    1. Professor, National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen
    2. Adjunct Professor, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences,Copenhagen
    3. Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Copenhagen
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  • VILHELM BORG MSc.Psych

    1. Senior Researcher, Researcher National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark
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Adriana Ortega
311 Nicole Drive
Temple GA 30179
USA
E-mail: adryortegaro@gmail.com/adrianaortegaro@ovi.com

Abstract

ortega a., christensen k.b., hogh a., rugulies r.&borg v. (2011) Journal of Nursing Management19, 752–759
One-year prospective study on the effect of workplace bullying on long-term sickness absence

Aims  To examine the effect of workplace bullying on long-term sickness absence using a prospective design.

Background  Although bullying has been identified as a serious problem in the health care sector, little attention has been given to the possible effect of workplace bullying on long-term sickness absence and its implications.

Methods  The sample consisted of 9949 employees (78.1% response rate) working in the elderly-care sector in 36 Danish municipalities. Long-term sickness absence was measured by linking a survey on work and health to the national register on social transfer payments.

Results  Among the 1171 employees that were bullied at work in the past 12 months, 1.8% were frequently bullied and 7.3% were occasionally bullied. The risk of long-term sickness absence was higher for those frequently bullied even after adjusting for psychosocial work characteristics [rate ratio (RR) = 1.92, confidence interval (CI): 1.29–2.84; < 0.05].

Conclusion  This is the first prospective study that explored the effect of both frequent and occasional bullying on long-term sickness absence among health care employees. The effect of frequent bullying on long-term sickness absence was independent of the psychosocial work characteristics.

Implications for Nursing Management  Workplace bullying might impact negatively the quality of care and patients safety.

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