July 7th, 2017
2017 WBI U.S. Survey: Health Impact on Bullied Targets
2017 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey
Health Impact on Targets
Health Impact on Targets
40% of targets are believed to suffer adverse health consequences from bullying
The Workplace Bullying Institute commissioned Zogby Analytics to conduct the 2017 national scientific U.S. survey across two days in late April. The stratified random sample of 1,008 individuals represented all adult Americans. [Zogby methodology and sample details here.] It was WBI’s fourth national survey.
We used the definition of workplace bullying that matches perfectly the definition codified in the Healthy Workplace Bill. Bullying is repeated mistreatment but also “abusive conduct.” We asked American survey respondents to consider only the most serious forms of bullying.
The power of the workplace bullying movement is derived principally from the impact on the health of targeted individuals. Bullying is the dominant psychosocial stressor in the work environment of targeted workers. That stressor triggers the human stress response. In turn, with prolonged exposure to frequent incidents, targets risk the onset of stress-related diseases. In other words, bullying is an occupational health hazard
This question queries the American public about whether health harm from bullying manifested. [N = 479; no experience respondents deleted.]
Wording of the Target Health Question: Was the health of the targeted person adversely affected by the mistreatment?
The split between respondents (targets and witnesses only) who were certain bullying had created health harm was 40%:60% with the latter being those who could not be certain.
Several factors could account for the 60% of uncertain respondents. Targets rarely publicly share their health problems with colleagues. Personal shame suppresses an outpouring. Also targets can endure bullying for long periods of time without awareness that the source of the ill health is their workplace with an attacking bullying in it. That is, the causal links take time to be recognized by targets themselves. Target-respondents could have been part of the 60% of doubters. See Figure 4 below.
Witnesses, too, rarely get into conversations about medical maladies with targets. They, too, may be unwilling or unable to perceive the causal factors which contribute to their friends’ ill health.
[See the WBI extensive survey of bullied targets (a non-scientific sample) of the effects of bullying on targets’ health.]
Gary Namie, PhD
WBI Research Director
View findings related to other questions asked in the 2017 Survey.
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