Workplace Bullying, Emotional Exhaustion, and Partner Social Undermining: A Weekly Diary Study

J Interpers Violence. 2022 Mar;37(5-6):NP3650-NP3666. doi: 10.1177/0886260520933031. Epub 2020 Jun 18.


Workplace bullying is one of the most relevant social stressors at work. Although previous research has shown its negative consequences for health and well-being, scarce evidence about the short-term consequences of workplace bullying and its crossover effects on the home domain is available. Thus, we conducted a multisource weekly diary study. A sample of 124 employees and their spouses filled a general survey (baseline measures) and a weekly online survey for four consecutive weeks (number of occasions = 992). Multilevel analyses showed that workplace bullying is associated with emotional exhaustion (γ = 0.643, SE = 0.215, t = 2.99, p < .05) and behaviors of social undermining toward the partner (γ = 0.751, SE = 0.187, t = 4.01, p < .01). Furthermore, rumination mediated the relationship between workplace bullying and its potential detrimental consequences for both employees' well-being (i.e., emotional exhaustion) and interpersonal connections (i.e., partner social undermining). These results shed some light on the mechanisms that can explain both the short-term effects of workplace bullying on employees' well-being and how such effects go beyond the work setting and can impact the home domain. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Keywords: emotional exhaustion; fluctuations; health; rumination; social undermining; workplace bullying.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bullying* / psychology
  • Emotions
  • Humans
  • Occupational Stress* / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workplace / psychology