Med thumb 20130321 010302

Kids can be cruel, but so can adults. Put people of any age within the confines of an office or playground and someone becomes Piggy: Research suggests that anywhere from five to 20 percent of adults get bullied at work. One of the many consequences? Loss of sleep.  

Earlier this year, psychiatrists reviewed research on workplace bullying and found certain jobs and professional environments that appear particularly ripe for getting picked on. Their analysis of 12 studies, mostly from Europe, reflect the experiences of 70,000 employees across a variety of industries. Here are some highlights:

  • Regarding industries, the most bullying happens in administrative and retail jobs, as compared to construction, finance, insurance, manufacturing, white-collar, scientific, and technical industries.
  • In terms of specific jobs, some research said bullies prey heavily on social-service workers. For men, high-risk positions included low-level white collar and blue-collar roles. Bullies were more likely to prey on women working government jobs (shocker). Other research reported the highest rate of bullying in public service positions, food-preparation and manufacturing.
  • It’s not clear that any specific personality traits make people more vulnerable to bullying.

Those bullied at work, according to studies, experience a higher rate of such ailments as chronic pain, cardiovascular disease, mood disorders and work-related suicide. Given these findings, it’s no surprise that a few studies have reported a high frequency of sleep disturbances among the bullied.

In one 2009 study on thousands of French workers, for example, researchers found that the more exposure people had to bullying, the higher their risk of sleeping issues. Past exposure to bullying also increased the risk of poor sleep. Similarly, a Scandinavian study from 2011 linked both being bullied and reporting observed bullying to higher rates of sleep problems.

So leave the guy in the middle cubicle alone. It’s not his fault his face looks like that.