Discrimination and bullying contribute to mental ill-health in the workplace. At face value, they would seem linked but are often dealt with by different legislations. Workplace studies generally focus on bullying and population studies on discrimination. The authors aimed to evaluate the prevalence and relationship of discrimination and bullying in a male-dominated workforce, associated factors and relative impact on mental ill-health.Design/methodology/approachAn online cohort survey was conducted amongst employees of an Australian mining company, measuring discrimination, bullying, demographics and workplace and health factors over two months. Cross-sectional and prospective analyses assessed the prevalence of each, their association and their effects on depression and anxiety.FindingsA total of 580 employees (82% male) participated. There was no association between workplace bullying (n = 56, 9.7%) and discrimination (n = 160, 27.6%). Discrimination, but not bullying, was associated with higher depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation and lower well-being and resilience. After controlling for demographic, workplace and health and well-being factors, depression had the main effect on discrimination ß = 0.39, p = 0.003. Discrimination predicted an increase in depression scores at follow-up F (1, 129) = 4.88, p = 0.029.Originality/valueIn this male-dominated industry, discrimination was more prevalent than bullying. Discrimination, but not bullying, was associated with poorer mental health both cross sectionally and prospectively. Supporting the need to assess and manage discrimination and bullying in the workplace independently and the need for interventions to reduce a broader range of adverse interpersonal behaviours.
International Journal of Workplace Health Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 19, 2021
Keywords: Mental health; Male-dominated workforce; Discrimination; Bullying
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