Reciprocal relations between workplace bullying, anxiety, and vigor: a two-wave longitudinal study

Anxiety Stress Coping. 2015;28(5):514-30. doi: 10.1080/10615806.2015.1016003. Epub 2015 Mar 11.


Background and objectives: Workplace bullying has been classified as an extreme social stressor in work contexts and has been repeatedly linked to several negative consequences. However, little research has examined reversed or reciprocal relations of bullying and outcomes.

Design: We conducted a two-wave longitudinal study with a time lag of six months.

Methods: The study sample consisted of 348 employees of the Spanish workforce. The present study examined longitudinal relationships between workplace bullying, psychological health, and well-being. On the basis of conservation of resources theory, we hypothesized that we would find reciprocal relations among study variables over time.

Results: Results of cross-lagged structural equation modeling analyses supported our hypotheses. Specifically, it was found that Time 1 (T1) workplace bullying was negatively related to Time 2 (T2) vigor and positively related to T2 anxiety. Additionally, T1 anxiety and vigor had an effect on T2 workplace bullying.

Conclusions: Overall, these findings support the validity of the theoretical models postulating a reciprocal bullying-outcome relationship, rather than simple one-way causal pathways approaches.

Keywords: causality models; longitudinal research; mental health; well-being; workplace bullying.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Bullying / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Spain
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workplace / psychology