Article

Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 117-134

First online:

Measuring the Extent of Impact from Occupational Violence and Bullying on Traumatised Workers

  • Claire MayhewAffiliated withSchool of Management, Griffith University
  • , Paul McCarthyAffiliated withSchool of Management, Griffith University
  • , Duncan ChappellAffiliated withNSW Mental Health Review Tribunal
  • , Michael QuinlanAffiliated withSchool of Industrial Relations and Organisational Behaviour, University of NSW
  • , Michelle BarkerAffiliated withSchool of Management, Griffith University
  • , Michael SheehanAffiliated withSchool of Management, Griffith University

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Abstract

Across the industrialised world, there is evidence that both the incidence and the severity of occupational violence and bullying are increasingly being reported over time. While there have been few substantive scientific studies in Australia, all the available evidence shows a similar increasing level of risk. It has long been assumed that those who suffer a physical assault during the course of violent events are more likely to be emotionally traumatised by the experience than are those who are merely threatened or bullied at work. However, there are no substantive data published to date. In this paper the authors aim to elucidate and quantify the extent of emotional injury/stress suffered as a result of different forms of occupational violence, based on empirical data collected during face-to-face interviewing of 800 Australian workers employed in the tertiary education, health and long-haul transport industry sectors. The authors conclude that the impact from more covert forms of occupational violence (such as bullying) can, in many instances, at least equal the emotional trauma following assaults on-the-job.

occupational violence bullying impact on recipients physical versus emotional injuries