Research

The impact of intervening in workplace bullying

There is comprehensive evidence that workplace bullying is detrimental to worker health and wellbeing. A recent research study explores the mental health outcomes for witnesses and targets of bullying, when bystanders intervene.

The research demonstrates that the association between observing bullying and negative mental health outcomes is dependent on whether the observers try to intervene in the bullying they witnessed. It may be surprising to learn that observers who did not intervene reported increased mental health problems. The research also found even failed interventions were still beneficial for the targets of bullying, as the demonstration of social support from colleagues buffered the negative effects of the bullying.

Employers may benefit from investing in educating bystanders and witnesses regarding how to be active and constructive in negative social situations at work and to prevent bullying-related risks in the workplace.

Read more: Morten Birkeland Nielsen et al: Killing two birds with one stone: how intervening when witnessing bullying at the workplace may help both target and the acting observer [Open access article], International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health volume 94, pages 261–273 (2021) Source: Comcare Emerging Evidence Report. More information on bullying: Bullying and Violence section on OHS Reps @ Work; Psychosocial Hazards Comcare   

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