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Research Shows Bullying Happens in the Workplace

Research Shows Bullying Happens in the Workplace

Posted - Oct. 29, 2004 at 10:24 p.m.



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Kimberly Houk reporting New research is suggesting bullying doesn't just happen on school playgrounds. It's surprisingly prevalent in the workplace.

And doctors say the victims suffer the same traumatic stress as a soldier at war may experience.

Bullied workers take on average about seven more sick days a year. And what's surprising, research shows most victims tend to be women who are bullied by other women.

And the bad feelings it creates stay with victims for years.

Nancy McCloud/ Salt Lake City: "I got a nice office assigned to me once and other people that had worked there longer felt like they should get it."

Nancy McCloud had more education, which led to the bigger office. But with the move came many whispers and the vicious emails started circulating.

Nancy McCloud: "Oh, I cried and I felt like I didn't know who I could trust. I didn't understand why people were so mean spirited."

Even though it may have been going on for years, researchers are just now finding how bullying in the workplace may be more damaging emotionally than many realize.

Michael Stevens, M.D./ Valley Mental Health: "Some people are finding that many of the symptoms overlap with post traumatic stress disorder."

Research is also showing that most of the bullying takes place amongst women who gang up on each other. Nearly half of the women surveyed say they've been bullied at work.

Laurel Young/ Salt Lake City: "I'm a nurse, and I think it's very difficult to work with other women at times. They are not as mentoring as they should be."

Workplace bullying can take on many forms. Psychologists say men tend to get loud and physical, while women inflict pain using malicious gossiping and constant criticism.

Dr. Stevens: "It's demoralizing in the sense that the person feels and often is less able to function effectively."

Dr. Stevens says the best thing anyone can do is stand up to the bully and let them know that their behavior is unacceptable.

Otherwise, he says the victim will continue to be harrassed.

Laurel Young: "I would get tired of having to hide how good I was, or the skills or abilities that I had."

There're several professions where bullying is most prevalent-- in police departments, prison service, teaching, and the healthcare fields.

Psychologists say another thing victims can do to protect themselves is make sure they document every incident.

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