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Original Article
Organisational justice protects against the negative effect of workplace violence on teachers’ sleep: a longitudinal cohort study
  1. Kia Gluschkoff1,
  2. Marko Elovainio1,2,
  3. Taina Hintsa1,
  4. Jaana Pentti3,4,
  5. Paula Salo3,5,
  6. Mika Kivimäki6,7,
  7. Jussi Vahtera3,8,9
  1. 1 Department of Psychology and Logopedics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  2. 2 National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
  3. 3 Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Turku, Finland
  4. 4 Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  5. 5 Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
  6. 6 Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland
  7. 7 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London Medical School, London, UK
  8. 8 Department of Public Health, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
  9. 9 Department of Public Health, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
  1. Correspondence to Mrs Kia Gluschkoff, Department of Psychology and Logopedics, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 9, 00014, Finland; kia.gluschkoff{at}


Objectives This study aimed to examine the longitudinal association of workplace violence with disturbed sleep and the moderating role of organisational justice (ie, the extent to which employees are treated with fairness) in teaching.

Methods We identified 4988 teachers participating in the Finnish Public Sector study who reported encountering violence at work. Disturbed sleep was measured in three waves with 2-year intervals: the wave preceding exposure to violence, the wave of exposure and the wave following the exposure. Data on procedural and interactional justice were obtained from the wave of exposure to violence. The associations were examined using repeated measures log-binomial regression analysis with the generalised estimating equations method, adjusting for gender and age.

Results Exposure to violence was associated with an increase in disturbed sleep (RR 1.32 (95% CI 1.15 to 1.52)) that also persisted after the exposure (RR 1.26 (95% CI 1.07 to 1.48)). The increase was higher among teachers perceiving the managerial practices as relatively unfair (RR 1.46 (95% CI 1.01 to 2.09) and RR 1.59 (95% CI 1.04 to 2.42) for interactional and procedural justice, respectively). By contrast, working in high-justice conditions seemed to protect teachers from the negative effect of violence on sleep.

Conclusion Our findings show an increase in sleep disturbances due to exposure to workplace violence in teaching. However, the extent to which teachers are treated with justice moderates this association. Although preventive measures for violence should be prioritised, resources aimed at promoting justice at schools can mitigate sleep problems associated with workplace violence.

  • workplace violence
  • sleep
  • organizational justice

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  • Contributors JP and JV provided the data and participated in the study design. TH and ME contributed to the study design. KG wrote the first draft of the manuscript and conducted data analyses. All the authors were involved in reviewing and revising the manuscript and approved its final version.

  • Funding The work was supported by the Kone Foundation and the Academy of Finland

    (Project 265977). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval for the Finnish Public Sector Study was obtained from the ethics committees of the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.