Objective: The goal of this study was to systematically review risk factors for workplace bullying. Methods: The search was carried out in two databases. Studies with estimates of risk factors for workplace bullying were included in the review. We assessed the quality of the selected studies using an adapted version of the Downs and Black checklist. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) and Meta-analyses of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) guidelines were used for reporting papers. Results: Fifty-one papers were included, and 70.6% were from European countries. Women were reported to be at higher risk of being bullied in most studies (odds ratio (OR) from 1.17 to 2.77). Authoritarian and laissez-faire leadership styles were positively associated with bullying. Several psychosocial factors, such as stress (OR from 1.37 to 4.96), and occupational risks related to work organization, such as flexible work methods, role conflict, role ambiguity, monotonous or rotating tasks, high demands, pressure of work, and unclarity of duties were strongly associated with bullying. Discussion: The findings highlight the central role of organizational factors in bullying. Policies to prevent bullying must address the culture of organizations, facing the challenge of developing a new management and leadership framework.
Keywords: epidemiology; occupational health; workplace bullying.