September 3, 2009

Bullying at work linked to disturbed sleep

Current or past exposure to bullying in the workplace is associated with increased sleep disturbances, a researcher in Ireland said.

Isabelle Niedhammer of the University College Dublin found 11 percent of women and 9 percent of men experienced hostile behavior in the work environment at least weekly and for at least six months during the previous 12 months. In addition, 32 percent of women and 31 percent of men reported they had observed bullying in the workplace in the previous 12 months.

After adjusting for variables such as age, occupation, weekly work hours and depressive symptoms, exposure to bullying was significantly associated with self-reported sleep disturbances.

The study, published in the journal Sleep, found the adjusted odds ratio of having disturbed sleep was more than two times higher in men who currently were experiencing workplace bullying,or had been exposed to daily or almost daily bullying. Women were nearly two times more likely to report having sleep disturbances if they had experienced daily or almost daily bullying, or had been exposed to bullying for more than five years.