Journal scan

Workplace bullying raises risk of developing diabetes

Bullying and violence in the workplace increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, possibly due to changes caused by stress hormones or because they trigger comfort eating, researchers say
Bullied at work

Bullying and violence in the workplace increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, researchers say.

The researchers from the University of Copenhagen studied data on 19,280 men and 26,625 women obtained from four studies in Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

The subjects were aged 4065 and were free of diabetes when the studies began. Each participant completed a series of questionnaires about their experiences at work in the previous 12 months.

Some 9% reported exposure to workplace bullying, and during 12 years of follow-up examinations 1,223 cases of type 2 diabetes were found.

After adjustment, being bullied at work was associated with a 46% higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Alcohol consumption and mental health difficulties did not affect this association, while allowing for body mass index removed one-third of the increased risk.

Stress hormones, comfort eating

Violence

...

Bullying and violence in the workplace increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, researchers say.


Picture: iStock

The researchers from the University of Copenhagen studied data on 19,280 men and 26,625 women obtained from four studies in Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

The subjects were aged 40–65 and were free of diabetes when the studies began. Each participant completed a series of questionnaires about their experiences at work in the previous 12 months.

Some 9% reported exposure to workplace bullying, and during 12 years of follow-up examinations 1,223 cases of type 2 diabetes were found.

After adjustment, being bullied at work was associated with a 46% higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Alcohol consumption and mental health difficulties did not affect this association, while allowing for body mass index removed one-third of the increased risk.

Stress hormones, comfort eating

Violence or threats of violence were experienced by 12% of subjects, with 11 years of follow-ups revealing 930 of cases of type 2 diabetes.

Workplace violence was associated with a 26% higher risk of diabetes for both men and women. Again, adjustment for alcohol consumption and mental health problems did not affect this result.

Writing in the journal Diabetologia the authors suggest changes caused by stress hormones are one possible cause, also that negative experiences may trigger comfort eating.

They suggest prevention policies should be investigated as a possible way of reducing the risk.


Tianwei X et al (2017) Workplace bullying and violence as risk factors for type 2 diabetes: a multicohort study and meta-analysis. Diabetologia. doi.org/10.1007/s00125-017-4480-3

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs