237327 Workplace Bullying Among State Government Workers

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 8:45 AM

Matt London, MS , Health and Safety Department, NYS PEF, Albany, NY
Alison Lydecker, MPH , Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
Kathleen McPhaul, PhD, MPH, RN , Work and Health Research Center, University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD
Jane Lipscomb, PhD, RN , School of Nursing, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD
Background: The University of Maryland (UMB) is in the midst of a five-year NIOSH-funded project to describe co-worker conflict among a population of workers and to intervene by implementing “best practice” measures.

Methods: Working with union and management representatives, we selected seven representative state government agencies/facilities. An anonymous, confidential self-administered questionnaire was offered to all workers from those agencies. Most respondents were able to complete the survey on-line during work at a secure UMB website.

Results: Surveys were completed by 12,966 individuals, an overall response rate of 72%. An average of 44% of the respondents indicated that they had experienced at least one of six listed negative acts during the prior six months. The negative acts most frequently reported were “been ignored or shunned” (29%), “had insulting/offensive remarks made about you” (26%), and “been humiliated or ridiculed in connection with your work” (24%). Most commonly, the perpetrator was a co-worker(s). Almost a third (31%) stated that “these situations made it difficult to pursue a normal work or home life.” Overall, 10% reported having been bullied, with co-worker the most common perpetrator (48%). Additionally, 3% reported having experienced one or more acts of physical violence. Those who experienced frequent bullying and/or physical violence were more likely to take action and more likely to be severely impacted by the behaviors.

Conclusions: The problem of co-worker conflict is severe and widespread. Phase two of the project has begun, involving the design, implementation, and evaluation of an intervention in two facilities.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify the scope and severity of co-worker conflict, including bullying.

Keywords: Participatory Action Research, Violence Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an epidemiologist and the project coordinator
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.