To examine if perceived stress mediated the association between workplace bullying and subsequent long-term sickness absence.
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).
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.
The association between workplace bullying and subsequent long-term sickness absence may be partially mediated by perceived stress.
Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Øster Farimagsgade 5, 1014 Copenhagen K (Dr Grynderup, Dr Nabe-Nielsen, Dr Lange, Dr Garde, Dr Rugulies, and Dr Hansen); Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen, Øster Farimagsgade 2A, 1353 Copenhagen K (Dr Conway, Dr Francioli, Dr Rugulies, and Dr H⊘gh); Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Frederiksberg and Bispebjerg Hospital, Bispebjerg Bakke 23, 2400 Copenhagen NV, University of Copenhagen (Dr Bonde and Mrs Vammen); The National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Lers⊘ Parkallé 105, Copenhagen (Dr Garde, Dr Rugulies, and Dr Hansen); Research Unit of Clinical Epidemiology, Institute of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M (Dr Kaerlev); Center for Clinical Epidemiology, Odense University Hospital, Sdr. Boulevard 29, DK-5000 Odense C (Dr Kaerlev), Denmark.
Address correspondence to: Matias Br⊘dsgaard Grynderup, PhD, Centre for Health and Society, Department of Public Health, Øster Farimagsgade 5, 1014 Copenhagen K, Denmark (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This work was supported by The Danish Working Environment Research Fund and the Danish Council for Independent Research. The funding organs played no role in the collection of data, formulation of study hypothesis, analyses, or interpretation of findings.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.