Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Psychology, Industrial.




Workplace bullying has been identified as a growing occupational stressor among health care professionals (Mayhew & Chappell, 2001; Quine, 1999, 2002). However, estimates of the prevalence rates of workplace bullying have been found to vary considerably. Studies relying on self-labelling consistently report lower prevalence rates than do those that present participants with lists of predefined negative acts (e.g., Mikkelsen & Einarsen, 2001; Salin, 2001). The purpose the present study was to explore the process of self-labelling among nurses experiencing workplace abuse. A total of 385 nurses registered as members of the College of Nurses of Ontario completed surveys containing scales that measured their frequency of exposure to negative behaviours in the workplace, job satisfaction, turnover, intentions, burnout, and psychological distress. A scale assessing fundamental beliefs about the world, others, and one's self was also included. Although 47.2% of the sample indicated having experienced at least one negative behaviour on a weekly basis for the past six months, only 18.6% of respondents labelled their experiences as bullying. Nurses who were bullied reported significantly lower levels of job satisfaction, higher levels of burnout, greater intentions to leave their current jobs, and more psychological distress than did their non-bullied colleagues. Bullied nurses also reported having more negative beliefs about the benevolence of world and people than did nurses who were not bullied. Bullied nurses who labelled their experiences as bullying reported significantly lower levels of job satisfaction, higher levels of burnout, and greater psychological distress than did nurses who were bullied but did not label their experiences as such. Bullied nurses who labelled their experiences as bullying also perceived other people as less benevolent than bullied nurses who did not label their experiences as bullying. Finally, verbal abuse (e.g., ridicule or insulting teasing, gossip or rumours) was found to be more strongly associated with self-labelling than behaviours that were physical and overt in nature. Results of the study are discussed with reference to Janoff Bulman's (1989, 1992) Cognitive Theory of Trauma and Lerner's (1980) Just World Theory. Implications for the treatment of bullied workers are presented and directions for further research are suggested.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2005 .O98. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 66-11, Section: B, page: 6322. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2005.