Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2016;42(1):26-33    pdf full text

doi:10.5271/sjweh.3537

Workplace bullying, sleep problems and leisure-time physical activity: a prospective cohort study

by Hansen ÅM, Gullander M, Hogh A, Persson R, Kolstad HA, Willert MV, Bonde JP, Kaerlev L, Rugulies R, Grynderup MB

Objectives Workplace bullying is a potent stressor that may increase sleep problems. Since physical fitness improves resilience to stress, it seems plausible that recreational physical activities may moderate the association between bullying and sleep. The study aimed to examine prospectively whether (i) bullying increases the risk of sleep problems, and (ii) the association between bullying and sleep problems is moderated by leisure-time physical activity (LTPA).

Methods The study sample comprised a cohort of public and private sector employees, who were enrolled into the Work Bullying and Harassment (WBH) cohort (N=3278) or the Psychosocial Risk Factors for Stress and Mental Disease (PRISME) cohort (N=4455). We measured workplace bullying using one question that was preceded by a definition of bullying. We used the Karolinska sleep questionnaire to assess sleep problems. The number of hours per week spent on LTPA estimated the degree of physical activity.

Results Workplace bullying at baseline (T1) was associated with awakening problems and lack of restful sleep at follow-up (T2) but not with overall sleep problems and disturbed sleep. T1-LTPA did not moderate the association between T1-workplace bullying and T2-sleep problems.

Conclusion We found support that workplace bullying is related to development of T2-sleep problems, but this association seems not to be modified by LTPA.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2011;37(3):204-212  2012;38(6):527-536  2006;32(5):349-358  2001;27(1):63-69  1998;24(4):300-307