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Prevalence of Workplace Bullying and Its Associated Factors among Workers in a Malaysian Public University Hospital: A Cross-Sectional Study

Authors Awai NS, Ganasegeran K, Abdul Manaf MR

Received 8 September 2020

Accepted for publication 4 November 2020

Published 8 January 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 75—85


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Marco Carotenuto

Nur Syakirah Awai,1,2 Kurubaran Ganasegeran,3 Mohd Rizal Abdul Manaf1

1Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur 56000, Malaysia; 2Family Health Development Division, Ministry of Health Malaysia, Putrajaya 62590, Malaysia; 3Clinical Research Center, Seberang Jaya Hospital, Ministry of Health Malaysia, Penang 13700, Malaysia

Correspondence: Mohd Rizal Abdul Manaf
Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur 56000, Malaysia

Background and Purpose: Workplace bullying has been regarded as a serious phenomenon, particularly in health-care settings, due to its tendency to predispose health workers to serious psychological repercussions, job dissatisfaction, and turnover. Such consequences are costly to health systems and disruptive to the continuity of patient care. While global bullying literature in health settings grows, evidence on the magnitude of the problem from a Malaysian perspective is scarce. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of workplace bullying and its associated factors among health workers in a Malaysian public university hospital.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted from October to December 2019 among 178 hospital workers at the Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The study utilized a self-administered questionnaire that consisted of items on sociodemographics, work characteristics, sources of bullying, and the validated Malay version of the 23-item Negative Acts Questionnaire — revised to determine the prevalence of bullying. Descriptive and inferential statistics were analyzed using SPSS 22.0. Statistical significance was set at P< 0.05.
Results: The prevalence of workplace bullying in this sample was 11.2%. Superiors or supervisors from other departments and colleagues were the main perpetrators. In the multivariate model, working for 10 years or less (aOR 4, 95% CI 1.3– 12.3; P=0.014) and not being involved in patient care (aOR 5, 95% CI 2.5– 10; P< 0.001) were statistically significant attributes associated with workplace bullying.
Conclusion: Workplace bullying in the current study was strongly associated with occupational characteristics, particularly length of service and service orientation of the workers. Hospital directors and managers could undertake preventive measures to identify groups vulnerable to bullying and subsequently craft appropriate coping strategies and mentoring programs to curb bullying.

Keywords: bullying, health care, negative acts, vulnerable populations, workplace

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