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.