Victimization in the school and the workplace: Are there any links?

Authors


Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths College, University of London, New Cross, London SE4 6NW, UK (p.smith@gold.ac.uk).

Abstract

We examine whether reported roles in school bullying, and victimization in the workplace, are connected; the influence of victim coping strategies at school; and sex differences. A questionnaire was completed by 5,288 adults from various workplace venues in Great Britain. We analysed two questions on school experiences (participant role; coping strategies if bullied) and questions on workplace bullying (experiences of being bullied). We found a significant relationship between reported roles in school bullying, and experience of workplace victimization. The highest risk of workplace victimization was for those who were both bullies and victims at school (bully/victims), followed by those who were only victims. An analysis of relative risk of workplace bullying, given being a victim at school plus using various coping strategies, revealed an increased risk for the strategies ‘tried to make fun of it’, and ‘did not really cope’. Women were at slightly higher risk of getting bullied at work, but there were no interactions with roles at school, and only one interaction with coping strategies. This is the first study to report an association between school and workplace bullying. Victims at school are more at risk of workplace victimization, but the especial risk for ‘bully/victims’ supports other indications that this particular category of school pupils should be a focus of concern. The findings also suggest that school pupils who consistently cannot cope with bullying, or try to make fun of the bullying, are more at risk for later problems in the workplace. However, associations are modest; many victims of school bullying are not being victimized in later life, and the results also suggest important contextual or environmental effects on risks of victimization.

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