Though men and women are at a similar risk of being Though men and women are at a similar risk of being

Study: Men and Women React Differently to Workplace Bullying

Man stressed at workThough men and women are at a similar risk of being bullied in the workplace, they may have different reactions to it. A study published in the journal Labour Economics explored absenteeism due to workplace bullying and found that men are more likely to leave the workplace in response to bullying.

The study’s authors say workplace bullies may make it difficult for an employee to do their work properly, hand more interesting or rewarding tasks to other employees, or repeatedly change an employee’s work.

How Men and Women React to Workplace Bullying

Researchers studied 3,182 people who worked in a variety of public and private organizations. Participants provided data to the 2006 Bullying Cohort Study, which was conducted in Denmark, and answered the Negative Acts Questionnaire-Revised.

Researchers analyzed participants’ absentee history and mental health. They found men were more likely than women to leave the labor market due to bullying. Bullying also negatively affected male victims’ salary, suggesting workplace bullying may cause them to be overlooked for promotions and other opportunities to make more money. Women who experienced bullying took double the sick leave of non-bullied workers and were more likely to use antidepressants. Men were more likely than women to report physical intimidation.

The results remained consistent even when researchers controlled for factors such as attachment to the labor market, personality, and previous history of sick leave. The study’s authors suggest future research could explore if some people are repeatedly targeted for bullying across workplaces.

The Mental Health Toll of Workplace Bullying

According to 2010 data from the Workplace Bullying Institute, bullying is four times more prevalent than illegal harassment behavior. Thirty-five percent of American workers report being bullied, and 15% of workers say they have witnessed bullying. Sixty-two percent of workplace bullies are men, and 58% of bullying victims are women.

Previous research has found bullying can cause long-term mental health issues, including posttraumatic stress. Measures to combat workplace bullying receive broad public support. In 2010, 64% of respondents to a Workplace Bullying Institute survey supported a bill designed to combat workplace bullying.


  1. Bullying makes men leave the labor market. (2016, December 12). Retrieved from
  2. Eriksen, T. L., Hogh, A., & Hansen, Ã M. (2016). Long-term consequences of workplace bullying on sickness absence. Labour Economics, 43, 129-150. doi:10.1016/j.labeco.2016.06.008
  3. Results of the 2010 WBI U.S. workplace bullying surveys. (2010). Retrieved from

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The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Paisley

    December 28th, 2016 at 12:15 PM

    Dealing with the women that I do at work is a big reason why I have to take Prozac daily.

  • Martha

    December 29th, 2016 at 9:01 AM

    Wouldn’t it be so lovely to think that we are all here with adult and grown up jobs so we are going to behave like adults too?

    Sadly there are just those people who fail to understand how to do that.

  • rick o

    December 29th, 2016 at 3:29 PM

    I guess I am lucky that I have not ever experienced this kind of behavior in the workplace although I know that there are probably more jobs out there than mine that are testosterone driven. I do think that women can become a little more underhanded and gang up on another female more often than what men do. I think that with men it is more overt and aggressive behavior toward each other/

  • calvin

    December 30th, 2016 at 12:57 PM

    I am concerned that behavior like this is becoming all too common and yet there are still managers and supervisors who condone the behavior and I would say that at times they are even the ones who encourage it.

    I think that in their minds they are weeding out the weaknesses in their plants or offices and I am sick of that kind of attitude being accepted.

    It is time that everyone from K2 to adulthood be made to understand that bullying is wrong, it is mean, and karma can be a real kicker when it comes back around to you.

  • Steve

    December 31st, 2016 at 1:11 PM

    Would you also agree that men are probably more likely to resort to getting into a physical altercation as a result of being bullied?
    Women might not do that as much. They might get back at someone in other ways though.

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