Objective: To examine if perceived stress mediated the association between workplace bullying and subsequent long-term sickness absence.
Methods: The PRISME cohort was established in 2007 and re-examined in 2009. Questionnaire data about workplace bullying and perceived stress were obtained from 4114 individuals. Participants were followed in registers on long-term sickness absence (>=30 consecutive days of sickness absence).
Results: Workplace bullying was associated with subsequent sickness absence (odds ratio [OR] = 2.05; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.57 to 2.65) and concurrent high perceived stress levels (OR = 2.34; 95% CI: 1.86 to 2.96). A high perceived stress level was also associated with subsequent sickness absence (OR = 1.33; 95% CI: 1.13 to 1.56). Perceived stress explained 13% (95% CI: 6 to 23%) of the total association between bullying and sickness absence.
Conclusions: The association between workplace bullying and subsequent long-term sickness absence may be partially mediated by perceived stress.
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