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December/January 2016/2017 (vol. 13/4)

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Research Plus

Bullied nurses react poorly to stress

Nurses exposed to bullying at work respond more negatively to stressful events than do non-bullied nurses, this Norwegian cohort study found. A total of 2,059 nurses participated; 1,582 completed the one-year follow-up. Exposure to bullying was estimated using the Negative Acts Questionnaire, anxiety symptoms were measured on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, while the Utrecht Coping List was used to assess coping style and generate a coping score. Participants were also asked how often they had been exposed to bullying. Victims of bullying had lower mean coping scores – ie they tended to use passive and avoidance behaviours rather than active coping strategies (eg problem solving) – and higher anxiety symptom scores. Higher coping scores reduced subsequent anxiety symptoms, but this was the case only at relatively low or zero levels of bullying. In other words, intensive bullying is detrimental to the victim’s health regardless of how well they generally cope with stressful events.

Industrial Health 2016; 54: 421–432. doi: 10.2486/indhealth.2015-0196.

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Occupational Health at Work December/January 2016/2017 (vol. 13/4) pp40–41