University Study Finds That Blacks Are More Likely Than Whites to Be Bullied at Work

A new study led by researchers at Georgia State University in Atlanta finds that African Americans experience higher levels of workplace bullying than is the case for Whites. Workplace bullying involves being subjected to slurs or jokes about gender or race, being given tasks no one else wants to do, being ignored or not taken seriously and being humiliated in front of others. Often the bullying comes from a worker’s manager. The study also found that African Americans reported higher levels of anxiety in the workplace and lower levels of support from coworkers.

The study examined responses from more than 2,300 people who participated in a national health and retirement study. The results showed that about one of every five workers reported being subjected to workplace bullying, but that African Americans were bullied at a higher rate.

Kiersten Kummerow, a Ph.D. candidate at Georgia State University and a co-author of the study, notes that “those who experience workplace bullying are at increased risk for a variety of adverse health outcomes like anxiety, depression and cardiovascular disease, among others. The results of our study demonstrate why employers and state policymakers should be aware of workplace bullying and the effects it has on individual’s health. ”

The full study, “Workplace Bullying, Perceived Job Stressors, and Psychological Distress: Gender and Race Differences in the Stress Process,” was published on the website of the journal Social Science Research. It may be accessed here.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Earl Hampton says:

    These circumstances would weight far worst on African-American women as they face sexism in addition to their race. Furthermore, I believe there is this stigma about the Black Americans having a poor work ethic that many try hard to disapprove, adding more stress to what maybe an already hostile environment.

    • Appel says:

      Are most of the bullies Women? White Women? I find that white women hold most of the supervisory and management postions!

  2. Sondra says:

    What I find extremely interesting is that we are bully more in the work place but work place violence is conducted or carried out by White males. I know of only one instance (Black male) in Washington, DC where there was work place violence.

  3. Tonnette says:

    It is important to identify both toxic and hostile work environments. Call it what it is! Make adjustments and either prepare an exit strategy or develop serious coping mechanisms. Marginalization, micro-inequity, and discrimination all exist and are prevalent in the workplace. It is a necessity that Women of Color initiate and participate in support groups. Mind over Matter. It’s very taxing!

    Life is too PRECIOUS to work in such environments! Get out! Look up and Live!

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