3rd February 2006




Five million workers in the UK will be bullied in the workplace at some point during their career, according to the Trades Union Congress (TUC).


In an attempt to better understand the causes and effects of workplace bullying an academic at the Hull School of Health and Social Care is leading a unique research project into the issue.


“It’s a very important area but not much research has been done on it,” said Sandra Garvey, a senior lecturer at the University of Lincoln in Hull.


“People don’t realise the long-term effects that workplace bullying can have – it can cause high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity, some targets of bullying never work again and some even commit suicide.


“Many suffer from complex post-traumatic stress disorder and can become clinically depressed. Then they see their GP and are prescribed medication like Seroxat, Valium or Prozac which doesn’t deal with the underlying problem.


“Workplace bullying builds into people a total distrust of their employer to the extent that anything they’re asked to do is seen as their employer just bullying them even more.


“It’s abuse of power like domestic violence or child abuse.”


Already more than 40 people who have been the target of workplace bullying have come forward to take part in Sandra’s study – but she is keen to hear about other people’s experiences.


“This research is unique and valuable because we’re actually talking to people and looking behind the numbers,” said Sandra.


“The phenomenon of bullying is well established – what we’re doing is trying to understand the process which affects a person’s mental state and what sorts of strategies the targets of bullying are subjected to.”


Sandra said the ultimate aim of the research is to get new legislation passed; among EU countries only Finland has passed legislation outlawing workplace bullying.


For more information contact: Jez Ashberry, Press and Media Relations Manager

01522 886042                         jashberry@lincoln.ac.uk