Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Workplace Mobbing and Effects on Workers' Health

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Workplace Mobbing and Effects on Workers' Health

Article excerpt

In this work, we analyze various consequences of the phenomenon of mobbing on the health of a work sector with special characteristics: the agro fruit sector. For this purpose, we collected data from a sample of 396 workers (61 men and 331 women) belonging to this sector in the Region of Murcia (Spain). A questionnaire with the following measurement instruments was administered: a Spanish adaptation of the revised Negative Acts Questionnaire (Sáez, García, & Llor, 2003), the Psychosomatic Problems Questionnaire (Hock, 1988), and a measure of absenteeism. The results revealed a significant and positive relation between workplace mobbing and psychosomatic symptoms, but not with absenteeism. The implications of the results for future research are discussed.

Keywords: mobbing, psychosomatic symptoms, absenteeism

En el presente trabajo analizamos distintas consecuencias del fenómeno del mobbing en el trabajo en un sector con características especiales como es el hortofrutícola. Para ello recogemos los datos de una muestra de 396 trabajadores (61 hombres y 331 mujeres) pertenecientes a este sector en la Región de Murcia. Se administró un cuestionario con los siguientes instrumentos de medida: NAQ-RE (Sáez, García y Llor, 2003), CPP (Hock, 1988) y una medida de absentismo. Los resultados indican la existencia de una relación significativa y positiva entre mobbing en el trabajo y síntomas psicosomáticos, pero no con el absentismo. Se discuten las implicaciones que para la investigación futura tienen los resultados obtenidos.

Palabras clave: mobbing, problemas psicosomáticos, absentismo

Mobbing is a complex phenomenon that is often expressed as hostile, repeated, undesired, and unreciprocated behaviors that can have a devastating effect on the victim (Di Martino, Hoel, & Cooper, 2003). Workers who are the target of mobbing are exposed to a broad variety of hostile behaviors that range from permanent criticism of their work, detrimental comments, malicious gossip, attacks on their religious or political attitudes, or even threats and acts of physical violence (Einarsen, 2000).

Mobbing has been considered a severe social stressor (Zapf, 1999), a traumatic vital event (Wilson, 1991), a silent epidemic that causes job dissatisfaction, psychological distress, and psychosomatic and physical problems. In 1976, Brodsky predicted that the consequences for workers, organizations, and society would be devastating.

Leymann (1990, 1996) classified harassing behaviors in five categories: (a) targeting self-esteem and the means of communication (restricting possibilities of communication, preventing contact with others, etc.); (b) attacks on personal social relations (limiting the possibilities of maintaining contact with others, isolating the person from the others, etc.); (c) attacks on the person's reputation (spreading rumors, making fun of the person or of a discapacity, etc.); (d) attacks on the person's professional quality and the life situation (not assigning meaningful tasks, assigning tasks that are below the person's personal qualification, etc.); and (e) attacks on the person's health (assigning dangerous tasks, physical threats, sexual harassment, etc.). Likewise, other authors, using the Leymann Inventory of Psychological Terror (LIPT; Leymann, 1990) ) or the Negative Acts Questionnaires (NAQ; Einarsen & Raknes, 1997) and various factor analyses, have proposed other taxonomies of mobbing behaviors (Hoel & Cooper, 2000; Einarsen & Raknes, 1997; Vartia, 2001; Zapf, Knorz, & Kulla, 1996).

Regarding the consequences for the harassed victims, it should be noted that most of the works that relate health to mobbing were carried out with victims who had generally suffered a long process of harassment (Brodsky, 1976; Einarsen, Matthiesen, & Skogstad, 1998; Gandolfo, 1995; Keashly & Harvey, 2006; Leymann & Gustafsson, 1996; Llor, García-Izquierdo, Campillo, Ruiz, & Luna, 2004; Mattiesen & Einarsen, 2001; Mikkelsen & Einarsen, 2002; Vartia, 2003). …

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