The relationship between work characteristics, wellbeing, depression and workplace bullying

Safe Work Australia have released a new report which details the early findings from a project conducted as a partnership between Safe Work Australia and The Australian National University.

The findings provide a number of insights into the inter-relationship between the psychosocial aspects of work, health and productivity, and describe important policy-relevant issues.

The report shows that certain workplace conditions and experiences can increase the risk of depression and subsequent consequences such as time away from work, and that workers with low levels of support from colleagues and managers were more likely to have depression than those who reported higher levels of support.

A major focus of the study was on workplace bullying. Consistent with past research, three types of workplace bullying were found: person-related bullying, work-related bullying, and violence and intimidation. Experiences of person-related and work-related workplace bullying were associated with high job demands, low job control, lack of fair pay for effort, job insecurity, poor organisational culture and lack of support from colleagues and managers. Experiences of violent or intimidating workplace bullying were uncommon but were related to poor organisational culture and lack of support from colleagues. Unsurprisingly, workplace bullying was strongly associated with increased risk of depression. One potential implication from the findings is that fair reward for effort and support from colleagues and managers may help prevent the occurrence or minimise the consequences of work-related depression.

The report contains some highly technical statistical techniques and language, so a Summary Report has been made available describing the study’s aims, methods and findings without the technical details. The summary report may be read as a stand-alone document or with the Technical Report as an attachment.

Safety Consultants Australia have updated our SafetyHazard Learning/Resources area of our website with the summary report or alternatively you can download a copy from the Safe Work Australia website.

Source: Safe Work Australia, 24 June 2013