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Friday, February 5, 2016

German Medical Science: Risk of psychiatric and neurological diseases in patients with workplace mobbing experience in Germany: a retrospective database analysis

Within the last few years, mobbing has emerged as an important factor influencing both the working performance and general health status of the population [1], [2]. There is a general consensus in that the terms mobbing, bullying and harassment can be used synonymously, although geographical preferences mean that one or the other term is used more frequently in certain regions [3]. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) or the International Labour Office (ILO), mobbing is defined as “repeated and over time, offensive behavior through vindictive, cruel or malicious attempts to humiliate or undermine an individual or groups of employees” [4]. Typical workplace mobbing actions include social isolation (e.g. exclusion from meetings), intrusion into privacy, verbal attacks or intimidation as well as organizational measures such as deprivation of competencies or allocation of low-order work tasks [5]. To fulfill all the criteria used by Leymann to identify mobbing, this behavior needs to take place on a frequent basis (at least once a week) and over a long period of time (at least 6 months) [1], [6]. It should be noted that bullying crosses all socio-demographic borders and can be observed in all categories of age, gender, ethnicity, academic achievement, and professional environment [7], although it seems to be especially common in the medical sector [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14]. Its general prevalence is estimated at between 2% and 15% [15], but a recent study indicated that it is even higher in adolescents, of whom 20–35% reported involvement in mobbing as a victim, a perpetrator or both [16], [17]. A special survey from 2004, initiated by the European Commission, revealed that 10.2% of women and 7.3% of men had been victims of workplace mobbing in the previous 12 months [18]. Tonini and colleagues discovered that women in the age group of 34 to 45 are especially likely to be the subjects of harassment, a phenomenon which can be explained by the increased level of family commitment in this age range, leading to a rise in stress [1]. The sequelae of mobbing are extensive and include social phobia [19], depression [2], [20], [21], [22], suicidality [21], [23], [24], posttraumatic stress disorder [1], [25] as well as substance abuse [7].

The goal of our study was to analyze the incidence of certain neurologic and psychiatric diseases as a consequence of mobbing as compared with a control group and to examine the possible influence of previous diseases that occurred within one year before the bullying took place (“index date”)."

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