Workplace bullying and mental health among teachers in relation to psychosocial job characteristics and burnout
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Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania (Department of Population Studies, Institute of Cardiology)
Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania (Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine)
Lithuanian Sports University, Kaunas, Lithuania (Department of Health, Physical and Social Education)
Online publication date: 2017-04-20
Corresponding author
Lina Bernotaite   

Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Department of Population Studies, Institute of Cardiology, Sukileliu av. 15, Kaunas LT-50161, Lithuania
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2017;30(4):629-40
Objectives: The objective of the study has been to assess the associations between psychological distress and exposure to workplace bullying, taking into account possible influence of adverse psychosocial job characteristics and occupational burnout in a sample of Kaunas (Lithuania) teachers. Material and Methods: The study sample included 517 teachers from 13 secondary schools and was conducted in 2014. The participants filled in the anonymous questionnaire (response rate 71.3%). Twenty-two-item Negative Acts Questionnaire (H. Hoel and S. Einarsen) was used for measuring the exposure to workplace bullying, Goldberg 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) – psychological distress, Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) – occupational burnout, Karasek Demand-Control questionnaire – psychosocial job stressors. The IBM SPSS Statistics version 20.0 was used for performing the statistical analysis. Associations between psychological distress, exposure to workplace bullying, psychosocial job characteristics and occupational burnout were analyzed in the logistic regression and expressed in terms of odds ratios (OR). Statistical significance was determined using the 95% confidence interval (CI) level. Results: Workplace bullying was prevalent among Kaunas teachers (occasional – 8.3%, severe – 2.9%). Twenty-five percent of teachers suffered from psychological distress. High emotional exhaustion was found in 25.6% of them, high depersonalization in 10.6% and low personal achievement in 33.7% of cases. Almost a half of respondents (47.4%) reported job strain and 59.6% – low social support at work. Occasional and severe bullying was associated with psychological distress after adjusting to job strain, social support and emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, personal accomplishment (adjusted OR was 3.27, 95% CI: 1.56–6.84 for occasional and 4.98, 95% CI: 1.27–19.62 for severe bullying). Conclusions: Occasional and severe bullying were strong predictors for psychological distress. Burnout did not mediate those associations. The effect of job strain and low social support decreased to the insignificant level in the final model. Preventive measures are necessary to improve psychosocial working conditions in secondary education institutions. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2017;30(4):629–640
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