Academic Article


  • 2021

Objective: Bullying is a form of psychological violence defined as a prolonged, systematic mistreatment at work where the victim has difficulties defending themself. While the antecedents and consequences for those exposed to workplace bullying are well known, little is known about the consequences for bystanders who intervene when witnessing bullying of others. To fill this knowledge gap, this study examines the risk of bystanders becoming the next target of workplace bullying if they intervene or remain inactive. Method: The study is based on a longitudinal probability sample of the Swedish workforce (n = 788). To assess new victims of bullying, respondents bullied at baseline were excluded from the analyses. The analyses were adjusted for sex, age, place of birth, education, employment period at the current place of work, managerial position, mental health problems, and unclear roles in the organization. Results: The results showed no increased risk of becoming a new victim of bullying for respondents who had actively intervened when witnessing bullying of others. In contrast, respondents who remained inactive had a threefold risk of becoming a victim of bullying at follow-up. Conclusions: The findings point to the importance of intervening when witnessing bullying, both for the victim and for...

Rosander, Michael; Nielsen, Morten Birkeland
Psychology of Violence
Read publication