The Associations Between Workplace Bullying and Physical or Psychological Negative Symptoms:

Anxiety and Depression as Mediators


  • Alessandro Lo Presti
  • Paolo Pappone
  • Alfonso Landolfi


Workplace bullying is a critical issue for its negative consequences on victims’ health and well-being. This study aimed at examining the intermediate roles of anxiety and depression, in the relations between workplace bullying as a predictor, and physical and psychological negative symptoms as outcomes. In particular, it was hypothesized that workplace bullying would be associated with higher anxiety and depression and, through them, with higher physical and psychological negative symptoms. We sampled 151 Italian employees, who called on a workplace bullying public clinical center as victims and filled a paper-and-pencil questionnaire. Results of bootstrapped regressions showed that only anxiety mediated the association of workplace bullying with negative physical symptoms while both anxiety and depression mediated its association with negative psychological symptoms. The results have implications for the development of appropriate intervention strategies for both prevention and clinical treatment. In particular, timely diagnosing and treating anxiety and depression could prevent subsequent problems related to psychological and physical symptoms such as colitis, headache, tiredness, nervousness, etc. Organizational interventions in terms of primary prevention are also discussed. From an empirical standpoint, the study contributed to disentangling the differential roles of anxiety and depression with respect to physical and psychological symptoms; moreover, overcoming a common limit of workplace bullying research, the current study was carried out on actual victims.