Workplace bullying victims sought for new study

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

New research at the University of Adelaide will investigate people's difficulties returning to the workforce after bullying, sexual harassment or discrimination at work.

Researchers are now seeking victims of workplace bullying and harassment who have not yet returned to work, so that their experiences can help others.

The study is being conducted by Dr Moira Jenkins, a Visiting Research Fellow with the University of Adelaide's School of Psychology and Director of Aboto Psychology Services.

"Bullying and harassment often results in the victim being forced to leave their workplace, and can result in anxiety, depression, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as poor self-esteem and low levels of confidence," Dr Jenkins says.

"Many bullied individuals find it difficult to return to gainful employment. They are often scared that the bullying might occur again, and their level of confidence is so low they become highly anxious just thinking about applying for other jobs."

Dr Jenkins will conduct a series of focus groups with people who have experienced bullying or harassment who are no longer working.

"The main aim of this is to identify any barriers they have returning to work," she says.

"It's important for us to better understand what the impact of bullying or harassment has had on their current daily life, and on their ability to work.

"The information gained in these focus groups will be used to design a program to help bullied and harassed workers successfully return to the workforce."

Focus group participants will be asked to fill out a short survey about their experiences. Confidentiality is guaranteed for both individuals and workplaces.

"If interested people are unable to participate in the focus groups, but would like to talk to me about their experiences, they can do so over the phone and I will send them our questionnaire. It's very important that we listen to their stories and learn about the problems they are facing," Dr Jenkins says.

People interested in taking part in the study should contact Dr Moira Jenkins by phone: 0412 733 453 or email:

This research is supported by SafeWork SA through the Augusta Zadow Scholarship.


Contact Details

Dr Moira Jenkins
Visiting Research Fellow, School of Psychology
The University of Adelaide
and Director, Aboto Psychology Services
Mobile: 0412 733 453

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762