Tohoku J. Exp. Med., 2021 November, 255(4)
Workplace Bullying and Patient Aggression Related to COVID-19 and its Association with Psychological Distress among Health Care Professionals during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Japan
Hiroki Asaoka,1 Natsu Sasaki,2 Reiko Kuroda,3 Kanami Tsuno4 and Norito Kawakami2
1Department of Psychiatric Nursing, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
2Department of Mental Health, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
3Division for Environment, Health and Safety, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
4School of Health Innovation, Kanagawa University of Human Services, Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan
The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has spread throughout the world. Poor mental health has been reported among healthcare professionals responding to COVID-19. However, no study has examined the impact of COVID-19-related workplace bullying or patient aggression on the mental health of healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 outbreak. This study examined the prevalence of COVID-19-related workplace bullying and patient aggression and its association with psychological distress among healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 outbreak in Japan. This was a cross-sectional study conducted from May 22 to 26, 2020, inviting participants (n = 1,421) from an online survey of full-time employees. We limited the sample to healthcare professionals for further analyses. Using an online selfreport questionnaire, workplace bullying and patient aggression related to COVID-19 was measured using nine items with dichotomous response options. Psychological distress was measured using the Japanese version of Brief Job Stress Questionnaire. Among 1,032 participants (72.6%) who completed the survey, 111 healthcare professionals were identified. Among them, 19 participants (17.1%) had experienced any COVID-19-related workplace bullying or patient aggression: 11 participants (9.9%) had experienced any workplace bullying and 12 participants (10.8%) had experienced any patient aggression. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that any bullying or patient aggression related to COVID-19 significantly correlated with psychological distress. It was suggested that a non-negligible proportion of participants experienced workplace bullying or patient aggression related to COVID-19. Preventing and reducing workplace bullying and patient aggression may be effective in improving mental health of healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Keywords —— COVID-19; health care professional; patient aggression; psychological distress; workplace bullying
© 2021 Tohoku University Medical Press
Tohoku J. Exp. Med 2021, 255, 283-289.
Correspondence: Norito Kawakami, Department of Mental Health, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.