Beyond the Playground: Bullying in the Workplace and Its Relation to Mental and Physical Health Outcomes

  • Madeline Rex-Lear
  • Jennifer M. Knack
  • Lauri A. Jensen-Campbell
Part of the Handbooks in Health, Work, and Disability book series (SHHDW)


Bullying in the American workplace is not a new phenomenon. Much of the research has focused on specific factors of workplace hostility such as sexual harassment (Dougherty & Smythe, 2004), ethnicity, gender, and age discrimination (e.g., Schneider, Hitlan, & Radhakrishnan, 2000). However, the effects of destructive interpersonal relationships in the workplace on an individual’s health and well-being have frequently been ignored or understated. In this chapter, we present a developmental approach to bullying but focus primarily on workplace bullying among adults and the negative consequences that this type of victimization has on physical and mental health correlates. We begin by presenting a biopsychosocial model that explores how being bullied affects mental and physical health. We then examine the construct of bullying, review existing research on bullying in schools (e.g., during childhood and adolescence), and draw parallels between research on workplace bullying and school bullying to bolster the importance of studying bullying across multiple age groups and situations. Next, we explore potential factors that may influence the link between being bullied in the workplace and mental and physical health. Finally, we consider the implications of research on workplace bullying.


Negative Affect Cortisol Level Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Binge Eating Disorder Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal Axis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Madeline Rex-Lear
    • 1
  • Jennifer M. Knack
    • 2
  • Lauri A. Jensen-Campbell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Texas at ArlingtonArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyClarkson UniversityPotsdamUSA

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