Objectives The study investigated the associations between workplace bullying and posttraumatic stress symptoms as compared to and controlled for associations between the latter and other psychosocial stress factors at work and in everyday life, employing a representative sample of Lithuanian family physicians.
Method With a response rate 89.2%, a total of 323 family physicians filled in anonymous questionnaire on workplace bullying, post traumatic symptomatology (IES-R), other psychosocial stressors at work and in everyday life, personal health resources (sense of coherence), behavioural characteristics and demographic variables. The statistical software SPSS 14.0 for Windows was used in the analysis. Associations were tested by way of multivariate logistic regression analysis.
Results A high prevalence of bullying was found among the family physicians in Lithuania, with 13% experiencing severe workplace bullying and 17.3% more occasional incidents of bullying. The prevalence of posttraumatic stress symptoms was also high (15.8%). The Odds ratio (OR) of severe bullying for posttraumatic stress after adjustment for age and gender was 8.05, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.80- 17.04. In the fully adjusted model it increased to 13.88, 95% CI 4.68–41.13, indicating cumulative effects of all the investigated stressors.
Conclusions Workplace bullying is prevalent among Lithuanian family physicians, as is symptoms of posttraumatic distress. Strong associations between posttraumatic stress and exposure to severe bullying indicate that bullying is a significant source of mental health problems among physicians and more so than most other well known psychosocial stressors at work and in daily living.
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