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, 51 (3), 479-87

Exposure to Bullying Behaviors as a Predictor of Mental Health Problems Among Norwegian Nurses: Results From the Prospective SUSSH-survey

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Exposure to Bullying Behaviors as a Predictor of Mental Health Problems Among Norwegian Nurses: Results From the Prospective SUSSH-survey

Iselin Reknes et al. Int J Nurs Stud.

Abstract

Background: The relationship between workplace bullying and mental health problems are well documented in previous cross-sectional studies, but knowledge on how this relationship develops over time is still scarce.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore the prospective relationship between exposure to bullying behaviors at baseline, and increased symptoms of mental health problems (anxiety, depression, fatigue) one year later. Furthermore, the reverse relationship was investigated.

Design: This is a prospective longitudinal study, where members of the Norwegian Nurses Organization answered identical questions regarding workplace bullying and mental health problems, at baseline (2008-2009) and follow-up (2010).

Participants: Altogether, 1582 nurses completed both questionnaires.

Results: Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that exposure to bullying behaviors at baseline predicted subsequent increased symptoms of anxiety and fatigue, after adjusting for baseline symptoms of anxiety and fatigue respectively, age, gender, night work and job demands. Moreover, symptoms of anxiety, depression and fatigue at baseline predicted increased exposure to bullying behaviors one year later, after adjusting for exposure to bullying behaviors at baseline, age, gender, night work and job demands.

Conclusion: In this study we find support for a reciprocal relationship between exposure to bullying behaviors and symptoms of anxiety and fatigue, respectively. Thus, the results may indicate a vicious circle where workplace bullying and mental health problems mutually affect each other negatively.

Keywords: Longitudinal; Mental health; Norway; Nurses; Workplace bullying.

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