London: If you are bullied at the workplace, it may lead to counterproductive behaviour besides harming your health, warn researchers.
The study showed that in some cases this is characterised by a lack of problem-solving and high avoidance coping strategies like drinking alcohol when having a problem and experiencing very frequent negative emotions.
"Overall, our results show the need to consider not only exposure to and types of bullying but also their associated consequences," said Roberta Fida, Professor at the University of East Anglia in England.
"In particular, the findings highlight that victimisation is associated not only with health problems but also with a greater likelihood of not behaving in line with the expected social and organisational norms," Fida added.
Bullying is one of the major occupational stresses for employees and the effects can compromise their development and health, as well as interfere with the achievement of both personal and professional goals.
In the study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, the researchers identified different configurations of victims by considering not only exposure to and types of bullying, but also health problems and bad behaviour.
The researchers asked more than 1000 Italian employees about their experiences of workplace bullying, counterproductive behaviour and health symptoms.
They were also asked about their coping strategies, negative emotions experienced at work and moral disengagement.
"The greater the intensity of bullying and the more the exposure to different types of bullying, the higher the likelihood of engaging in counterproductive workplace behaviour," said study lead author Fida.
"In addition, it is essential to also promote behavioural regulation strategies to reduce moral disengagement, as well as negative compensating behaviour, such as drinking more alcohol and taking more risks," Fida added.