Merecz, Dorota; Drabek, Marcin; Mościcka, Agnieszka
July 2009
International Journal of Occupational Medicine & Environmental H;Jul2009, Vol. 22 Issue 3, p243
Academic Journal
Objectives: The aim of the study was to evaluate the consequences of the exposure to workplace aggression from coworkers and clients. Materials and Methods: Participants belonged to two professional groups: nurses (N = 1163) and public service workers (N = 391). Aggression from coworkers and clients/patients was analysed separately. Several multiple regression models were tested to assess the effect of work-related aggression experienced by the subjects on their job satisfaction, professional functioning and mental health status. The frequency and type of violent behaviours against employee was measured by Exposure to Workplace Aggression Questionnaire (EWAQ), level of burnout was determined by Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), mental health status by General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28), and the level of work satisfaction was measured by 22-items survey, developed at NIOM Work Psychology Department. In the regression models, several possible confounders were controlled (sex, age, individual direct reaction to aggressive act, and physical health status). Results: Results of our study point to adverse consequences of exposure to aggression at workplace, irrespective of its source. Employees experiencing workplace aggression are less satisfied with work, show symptoms of burnout, and their general health is poorer. Conclusion: We assume that aggression towards coworkers by peers and supervisors, as the phenomenon reflecting quality of long term interpersonal relationships, may affect health and functioning of workers stronger than a single incident in the short term contacts with clients. Aggression from clients usually results in compassion of peers, and it is perceived as the organisational problem that should be solved. On the contrary, dealing with an aggressive coworker usually is perceived as employee's own business and results in the sense of unfairness and isolation.


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