Workplace bullying and sleep disturbances: findings from a large scale cross-sectional survey in the French working population

Sleep. 2009 Sep;32(9):1211-9. doi: 10.1093/sleep/32.9.1211.


Study objectives: The purpose of this study was to explore the associations between workplace bullying, the characteristics of workplace bullying, and sleep disturbances in a large sample of employees of the French working population.

Design: Workplace bullying, evaluated using the validated instrument developed by Leymann, and sleep disturbances, as well as covariates, were measured using a self-administered questionnaire. Covariates included age, marital status, presence of children, education, occupation, working hours, night work, physical and chemical exposures at work, self-reported health, and depressive symptoms. Statistical analysis was performed using logistic regression analysis and was carried out separately for men and women.

Setting: General working population.

Participants: The study population consisted of a random sample of 3132 men and 4562 women of the working population in the southeast of France.

Results: Workplace bullying was strongly associated with sleep disturbances. Past exposure to bullying also increased the risk for this outcome. The more frequent the exposure to bullying, the higher the risk of experiencing sleep disturbances. Observing someone else being bullied in the workplace was also associated with the outcome. Adjustment for covariates did not modify the results. Additional adjustment for self-reported health and depressive symptoms diminished the magnitude of the associations that remained significant.

Conclusions: The prevalence of workplace bullying (around 10%) was found to be high in this study as well was the impact of this major job-related stressor on sleep disturbances. Although no conclusion about causality could be drawn from this cross-sectional study, the findings suggest that the contribution of workplace bullying to the burden of sleep disturbances may be substantial.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Causality
  • Comorbidity
  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dominance-Subordination*
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workplace / psychology
  • Workplace / statistics & numerical data