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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 712642, 8 pages
Research Article

Workplace Bullying as a Risk Factor for Musculoskeletal Disorders: The Mediating Role of Job-Related Psychological Strain

1Department of Psychology, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna, Viale Berti Pichat 5, 40127 Bologna, Italy
2Department of Educational Science, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna, Via Filippo Re 6, 40126 Bologna, Italy
3Department of Political and Social Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna, Via dei Bersaglieri 6/c, 40125 Bologna, Italy
4Occupational Medicine, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna, Via Palagi 9, 40138 Bologna, Italy

Received 16 January 2015; Accepted 29 March 2015

Academic Editor: Steven L. Sauter

Copyright © 2015 Michela Vignoli et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Workplace bullying is considered by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work one of the emerging psychosocial risk factors that could negatively affect workers’ health. Thus, the aim of this study was to analyze the process that leads from bullying to negative health (such as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)), testing the mediating role of job-related strain. Data were collected on 512 workers (62.9% female; mean age = 43.6 years) of a retail chain who filled in a self-report questionnaire after a one-hour training session on work-related stress. Data analyses were performed controlling for potentially confounding variables (i.e., gender, age, organizational role, type of contract, and perceived physical job demands). Preacher and Hayes analytical approach was used to test the indirect relationship between bullying and MSDs. Results showed that work-related strain mediates the relationship between bullying and MSDs considered (low back, upper back, and neck) except for MSDs of the shoulders. Our study confirms the role played by bullying and job-related strain in determining workers’ MSDs.