Bullying among trainee doctors in Southern India: a questionnaire study

J Postgrad Med. Apr-Jun 2007;53(2):87-90, 90A-91A. doi: 10.4103/0022-3859.32206.


Background: Workplace bullying is an important and serious issue in a healthcare setting because of its potential impact on the welfare of care-providers as well as the consumers.

Aims: To gauge the extent of bullying among the medical community in India; as a subsidiary objective, to assess the personality trait of the bullying victims.

Settings and design: A cross-sectional, anonymous, self-reported questionnaire survey was undertaken among a convenient sample of all the trainee doctors at a Government Medical College in Tamil Nadu, India.

Materials and methods: A questionnaire, in English with standard written explanation of bullying was used. Basic information like age, sex, job grade and the specialty in case of Postgraduates (PGs) were also collected.

Statistical analysis: The results were subjected to descriptive statistical analysis and Chi-square test for comparison of frequencies.

Results: A total of 174 doctors (115 PGs and 59 junior doctors), took part in the study with a cent percent response. Nearly half of the surveyed population reported being subjected to bullying. Nearly 54 (53%) of the men and 35 (48%) of women were subjected to bullying. Significant proportions (P < 0.0001) of medical personnel and paramedical staff bullied the PGs and junior doctors, respectively. More than 85 (90%) of bullying incidents went unreported. A significant (P < 0.0001) percentage of PGs and junior doctors revealed a personality trait towards bully.

Conclusions: Workplace bullying is common among trainee doctors and usually goes unreported.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aggression*
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Male
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Stress, Psychological*