Exposure to workplace bullying and post-traumatic stress disorder symptomology: the role of protective psychological resources

Authors

  • Heather K. Spence Laschinger RN, PhD, FAAN, FCAHS,

    Distinguished University Professor, Corresponding author
    1. Faculty of Health Sciences, Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada
    • Correspondence

      Heather Laschinger

      Faculty of Health Sciences, Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing

      The University of Western Ontario

      Health Sciences Addition

      Room H41.

      1151 Richmond Street

      London

      Ontario N6A 5C1

      Canada

      E-mail: hkl@uwo.ca

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  • Amanda Nosko PhD

    Research Coordinator
    1. Faculty of Health Sciences, Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada
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Abstract

Aim

To examine the relationship between nurses' exposure to workplace bullying and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder symptomology and the protective role of psychological capital (PsyCap).

Background

Workplace bullying has serious organisational and health effects in nursing. Few studies have examined the relation of workplace bullying to serious mental health outcomes, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Even fewer have examined the effect of intrapersonal strengths on the health impact of workplace bullying.

Method

A survey of 1205 hospital nurses was conducted to test the hypothesized model. Nurses completed standardized measures of bullying, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and PsyCap.

Result

A moderated regression analysis revealed that more frequent exposure to workplace bullying was significantly related to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder symptomology regardless of the PsyCap level. That is, PsyCap did not moderate the bullying/PTSD relationship in either group. Bullying exposure and PsyCap were significant independent predictors of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms in both groups. Efficacy, a subdimension of PsyCap, moderated the bullying/Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder relationship only among experienced nurses.

Conclusion

Workplace bullying appears to be predictive of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder symptomology, a serious mental health outcome.

Implications for nursing management

Workplace bullying is a serious threat to nurses' health and calls for programmes that eliminate bullying and encourage greater levels of positive resources among nurses.

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