Health Promotion in the Context of Workplace Bullying
MacIntosh, Judith A.
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Session presented on: Thursday, July 25, 2013: Purpose: Workplace bullying is prevalent abuse consisting of offensive behaviours humiliating or intimidating others at work (Carbo and Hughes, 2010). Incidence rates vary with abuse type and measurement methods but rates are increasing and workplace violence is identified as an international problem (World Health Organization, n.d.). We know that workplace bullying has effects on physiological, psychological, social, and economic health (MacIntosh, 2005). Our purpose was to study what is less well-known: how people bullied at work promote health and approach work afterwards. Methods: We used grounded theory methods of constant comparison, simultaneous data collection and analysis, and theoretical coding. Through separate grounded theory studies, we developed substantive theories of how bullied people promote health and engage in work. We recruited community samples and recorded semi-structured interviews with 36 men and 40 women in Canada. They worked in many types of workplaces and lived in urban and rural locations. Ages and education varied. Results: In these studies, we identified what was problematic for bullied participants and we identified basic processes they used to address central problems. Here, I discuss the central problems participants experienced, how problems interfered with promoting health, and how bullied people managed to resume promoting health. Conclusion: I discuss actions to help people promote health during and after bullying and identify how professionals can assist in restoring health promotion practices. I make recommendations for policy and workplace strategies to create respectful workplaces to promote worker health overall.