Type 2 Diabetes Risk Increases with Workplace Bullying and Violence

Bullying is no laughing matter. Nearly 1 in 3 students are bullied in the United States, but it’s not just something that children endure.

Bullying is defined as unwanted and aggressive behavior that reflects a real or perceived power differential between two parties, and adults can fall victim to it, too—especially in the workplace. New research is shedding light on just how widespread the effects of bullying, as well as workplace violence, have on human health.

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen published a study in the journal Diabetologia that explains how these negative experiences are correlated with higher incidences of type 2 diabetes. In fact, being bullied in the workplace meant a 46 percent higher risk for their participants (61 percent for men and 36 percent for women) and experiencing workplace violence accounted for a 26 percent increase for both genders.

Those behind the study note that there are unique differences between the two experiences. Bullying results in psychological effects and is usually perpetrated by people on the “inside” of the job—think superiors, co-workers and the like. Violence in the workplace also causes distress, but is often brought on by those on the “outside”—think consumers, patients, clients, etc. Each have a significant correlation with rising type 2 diabetes risk, but each have differing physical and emotional long-term effects.

“Being bullied is regarded as a severe social stressor that may activate the stress response and lead to a range of downstream biological processes that may contribute towards the risk of diabetes,” the study authors report. Stress hormones may play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes, but other associated factors may also have a part in the process. Obesity and changes in metabolism could be initiated by stress responses, which are both known to contribute to diabetes risk.

Further research is needed to determine whether other forms of workplace stress could have a significant, if any, link to rising diabetes risk. But, just in case, it’s a good idea to make sure we are managing any job-related stress for our overall health. If you are feeling stressed at work, there are many ways to tackle that stress and bring it down to a manageable level. A boost in interpersonal skills can also lead to a more pleasant workplace experience. And, if it feels like you’ve had about all you can take at the job, make sure that you listen to those cues and decide whether the job is worth it or if it’s time to search for something better.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

24 comments

Amanda M
Amanda M1 months ago

Anne M, I was bullied in elementary and middle school too. High school was the first time in my LIFE that I had a gang of friends who had my back, and to this day I can say those were some of the best years of my life because of that. However, in adulthood the pendulum has sadly swung back around to my having very few true friends but plenty of bullies and enemies to worry about (and a lot of that is NOT MY FAULT-long story). While the childhood bullying helped me gain my "this is the way I am, and F$%& you if you don't like it!" attitude, bullying in adulthood is a lot harder to live with because I don't know who has my back (if anybody even does). But I digress-I had to deal with workplace bullying during my security days too. One was a coworker who was a born-again Christian, whom I'lll call M. When he wasn't proselytizing to me during our shifts, he was leaving anti-choice or far-right Christian propaganda on my desk (which always went straight into the shredder). The brass wondered why I never wanted to work a double shift on weekends (I usually worked 3 PM -11 PM, and he worked from 11 AM-7 PM) until one of them had the morning shift (7-3). Before I even got in the building that afternoon, he was outside and told me he was ready to hit M. already! I told him "Now you know why I won't work a double-it would mean EIGHT HOURS with that creep!" Fortunately, I caught M. sleeping on the job a month later and fired him. Another time (differen

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Paulo Reeson
Paulo Reeson1 months ago

ty

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Paulo Reeson
Paulo Reeson1 months ago

ty

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Winn A
Winn A2 months ago

thanks

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Winn A
Winn A2 months ago

noted

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson2 months ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson2 months ago

ty

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Danuta W
Danuta W2 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Mona M
Mona M2 months ago

As sugar is connected to love, tenderness and affection, diabetes reflects diverse feelings of inner sadness. It's the pain of love caused by my previous injuries or hurts. If I have diabetes, I usually live with repeated sad emotions. The sweetness has disappeared from my life." from the French Canadian Jacques Martel Dictionary of Malaise and Diseases.

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Anne M
Anne M2 months ago

I was bullied in high school,, and I never forgot it,, - it molded me into the loner that I am today.. - Don't need friends,, but I do love my Brian.. xoxoxxooxxoxoxo

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