Victims workplace aggression feel less healthy

02/10/2012 15:00

Victims of workplace aggression more often report a poor state of health than their colleagues who do not face aggression at work. They are also more dissatisfied with their job and are more often attempt to find another job, in particular, if they have to deal with aggressive behaviour from superiors or colleagues.

One third of employees victims of aggressive behaviour in the workplace

One in three employees in the age category 15-65 became victims of aggression in the workplace last year. External aggressive behaviour by customers, patients, pupils or passengers occurred most frequently. Nearly one quarter of employees faced external aggression. In 16 percent of cases, employees had to deal with internal aggression by superiors or colleagues.

Victims of internal aggression twice as often report a poor state of health as victims of external aggression and nearly three times as often as non-victims. In the case of internal aggression, the long-term sickness absence rate is marginally higher. External aggression does not affect the long-term sickness absence rate.

Health and long-term sickness absence victims of workplace aggression, 2011

Health and long-term sickness absence victims of workplace aggression, 2011

Victims workplace aggression more inclined to change jobs

Employees facing internal aggression more often are dissatisfied with their jobs; 15 percent are (very) dissatisfied with their jobs versus 8 percent of victims of external aggression and 5 percent of non-victims.

Nearly two thirds internal aggression victims have considered to change jobs in 2011 and more than one third have indeed taken action. With 4  and 21 percent respectively, the figures are considerably lower for non-victims. Victims of external aggression are somewhere in between.

Evaluation work situation by victims of workplace aggression, 2011

Evaluation work situation by victims of workplace aggression, 2011

Many victims in favour of steps to reduce pressure and stress at work

Some 64 percent of workplace aggression victims would like to see that steps are taken to reduce pressure and stress at work. This proportion is significantly higher than the proportion who would like to see steps taken against aggressive behaviour from superiors and colleagues (23 percent); 54 percent of external aggression victims would like to see steps taken to reduce work pressure and 22 percent are in favour of action against customers, patients, pupils or passengers. In the category non-victims, nearly one third are in favour of extra steps to reduce pressure and stress at work.

Need for extra action victims of aggressive behaviour in the workplace, 2011

Need for extra action victims of aggressive behaviour in the workplace, 2011

Elke Moons, Marjolein Korvorst and Seth van den Bossche(TNO)