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Workplace bullying in the health and social caresystems in Sweden.: A descriptive study
Karlstad University, Faculty of Social and Life Sciences. (Strandmark, Margaretha, Rystedt, Ingrid, Wilde-Larsson, Bodil, Nordström, Gun.)
Karlstad University, Faculty of Social and Life Sciences, Department of Nursing.
Karlstad University, Faculty of Social and Life Sciences, Department of Nursing. (Omvårdnad)
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7082-6834
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2012 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]


Workplace bullying in the health and social care systems in Sweden. A descriptive study.


This study aims to map and describe the problem of bullying within the health and social care systems as a foundation for an intervention. In this presentation we will present the study and preliminary results concerning negative acts and work-place health in Sweden.   


Baseline data for this quantitative study was collected at nursing wards at five hospitals and five wards for eldercare in municipalities. Questionnaires were sent by post to 2810 employees.  Response-rate was 55% (n=1550).

Bullying was measured both with an operationalized and a self-labelling method. The instrument used in the former were The Negative Acts Questionnaire, NAQ-R, and bullying was assessed according to the operational criterion suggested  by Leyman (1996) “exposure to at least one negative act/week during six months” and a stricter criterion by Mikkelsen & Einarsen, (2001)  suggesting 2 negative acts/week during six months.  

As for the self-labelling of bullying a definition of bullying was presented and questions were asked whether the person had been bullied or had witnessed bullying the last 6 months. A further question was asked regarding previous life-time experiences of bullying.

To assess work-place environment the Nordic Questionnaire for Psychological and Social Factors at work, QPSNordic34+ was utilized. In addition a questionnaire made for this study concerning demographic information and specific workplace related questions were included.

Primarily descriptive statistics was used.


Bullying measured by NAQ-R, using the operational criterion, reported results of bullying at 18,5 % (Leyman) and for the stricter criterion 6.8% (Mikkelsen & Einarsen). Four percent (4 %) reported bullying relating to the self-labelling question. A higher proportion, 22%, had witnessed bullying and an even higher proportion, 38%, reported having experienced bullying earlier in life.

 An association was shown between having been bullied earlier in life and experiencing bullying at the work-place at the present time. Also work-place environment, age, where you were born, living in a relationship, education and length of employment were, respectively, associated to more negative acts in the workplace.


The operationalized method yields a higher percent of bullying compared to the self-labelling method. This is also shown in earlier studies and might be due to bullying being stigmatizing and shameful and therefore difficult to express in a straight-forward way.

A significant relationship was observed between being bullied earlier in life-time and current exposure. As far as we know this represents new knowledge and should be further investigated.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
Public Health Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-29830OAI: diva2:658136
8th International Conference on Workplace Bullying & Harassment: Future Challenges, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Available from: 2013-10-21 Created: 2013-10-21 Last updated: 2016-09-29Bibliographically approved

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Rahm, GullBrittRystedt, IngridNordström, GunWilde-Larsson, BodilStrandmark K, Margaretha
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