Date: 30 Aug 2006

Economic activities and occupations at high risk for workplace bullying: results from a large-scale cross-sectional survey in the general working population in France

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Abstract

Objectives

To evaluate the prevalence of workplace bullying in the general working population in France, and explore this prevalence across economic activities and occupations.

Methods

The studied population consisted of a sample of 3,132 men and 4,562 women of the general working population in the southeast of France. A self-administered anonymous questionnaire included the 45-item inventory of workplace bullying elaborated by Leymann, frequency and duration of bullying, and self-report of being exposed to bullying. Cases of bullying were defined using both Leymann’s definition (exposure to at least one form of bullying within the previous 12 months, weekly or more, and for at least 6 months) and self-report of bullying.

Results

The 12 month prevalence of workplace bullying was 9% for men and 11% for women. The point prevalence was 7.5% on the day of the survey for men and women, and varied from 3 to 18% according to economic activities and occupations among men. High-risk groups for bullying included activities of services for men, and various categories of associate professionals, and of low levels of white and blue collar workers for men, and government associate professionals for women.

Conclusions

This first study on workplace bullying in France showed that around 10% of the population studied, and more women than men, had been exposed to bullying within the last 12 months. This study also found that some economic activities and occupations would be at elevated risk for bullying, pointing out the need to better understand and prevent bullying in these high-risk groups.

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