Relationships between exposure to bullying at work and psychological and psychosomatic health complaints: the role of state negative affectivity and generalized self-efficacy

Scand J Psychol. 2002 Dec;43(5):397-405. doi: 10.1111/1467-9450.00307.


The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between exposure to behaviors identified as workplace bullying and self-report measurements of psychological and psychosomatic health complaints. Secondly, we investigated whether these relationships were mediated by the state negative affectivity of the victim. Thirdly, we investigated the extent to which generalized self-efficacy moderated the relationships between exposure to bullying behaviors and health complaints. Two hundred and twenty-four white- and blue-collar employees from a Danish manufacturing company participated in the study. Exposure to bullying behaviors was associated with an increase in psychological health complaints, increased levels of psychosomatic complaints and an elevated level of state negative affectivity. Whereas bullying by itself accounted for 27% of the variance in psychological health complaints and 10% of the variance in psychosomatic complaints, the results pointed to state negative affectivity as a partial mediator of the relationships between exposure to bullying behaviors and both measures of self-reported health. Though not directly related to reported exposure to bullying behaviors, generalized self-efficacy seemed to act as a moderator of the relationship between exposure to bullying behaviors and psychological health complaints.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Crime Victims / psychology
  • Female
  • Generalization, Response
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / psychology*
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workplace / psychology*