Victims of workplace bullying are more likely to receive prescriptions for drugs for insomnia, depression and anxiety, according to a new study from Finnish researchers.
Specifically, men who had been bullied were about twice as likely to receive prescriptions for these kinds of psychoactive drugs. Women who had been victims of workplace bullying were 50 percent more likely to receive prescriptions for these drugs, researchers found.
Workplace bullying is quite common, with about 35 percent of people reporting having experienced it before, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey. The survey also showed that bosses were the most common bullies, followed by coworkers, then customers, then someone with a higher ranking than a direct boss, CareerBuilder reported.
The new study, published in the journal BMJ Open, included 6,606 people ages 40 to 60 who worked for the City of Helsinki, Finland, between 2000 and 2002. About one out of every 20 people reported being a current victim of workplace bullying, while a much higher number -- 18 percent of women and 12 percent of men -- said that they'd experienced workplace bullying in the past.
Researchers found the association between workplace bullying and the prescription rates even after taking into account other factors like social class, weight, bullying during childhood, and mental health.
A 2003 study in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine also showed a link between workplace bullying and depression. That same study additionally showed a higher risk of heart disease among bullying victims, but the researchers noted that other factors -- like being overweight -- may be the cause.