Objectives: The association between workplace bullying and psychotropic drug use is not well established. This study was aimed at exploring the association between workplace bullying, and its characteristics, and psychotropic drug use and studying the mediating role of physical and mental health.
Methods: The study population consisted of a random sample of 3132 men and 4562 women of the working population in the south-east of France. Workplace bullying, evaluated using the validated instrument elaborated by Leymann, and psychotropic drug use, 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, physico-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.
Results: Workplace bullying was strongly associated with psychotropic drug use. Past exposure to bullying increased the risk for this use. The more frequent and the longer the exposure to bullying, the stronger the association with psychotropic drug use. Observing bullying on someone else at the workplace was associated with psychotropic drug use. Adjustment for covariates did not modify the results. Additional adjustment for self-reported health and depressive symptoms reduced the magnitude of the associations, especially for men.
Conclusions: The association between bullying and psychotropic drug use was found to be significant and strong and was partially mediated by physical and mental health.