Men twice as likely as women to quit job because of bullying
They are just as likely to be picked on by bosses and colleagues as women - but react in different ways, suggests the study.
Bullying doubles the numbers of days a woman takes off sick and triggers an increased use of antidepressants affecting their health long term.
But men are twice as likely to walk out, and stay off the labour market for a period of time.
A Danish study of more than 3,000 people in both the public and private sector found about one in fourteen (seven per cent) had been bullied, with over two fifths - 43 per cent - men.
Professor Tine Eriksen, of Aarhus University, said: “The million dollar question is why men primarily react by leaving the workplace, while women react to bullying by taking prolonged sick leaves.
“If anything, this illustrates that men and women handle bullying differently.”
Her findings follow research in 2015 that found bullying in the UK workplace is growing but with many people too afraid to speak up about it.
The conciliation service, Acas, revealed over the previous year it received about 20,000 calls about harassment and bullying at work.
Some callers to its helpline had even considered committing suicide.
In a consultation paper, it said businesses need to take the issue much more seriously and to improve anti bullying policies.
To Prof Eriksen’s surprise bullying does not appear to affect men’s sickness absence, although it does reduce their salary.
She said: “In fact, it seems men who are bullied are more likely than women to go to work even though they are actually sick.
“At the same time, it appears bullying affects men’s salary level negatively, which indicates the bullying hampers their opportunities for pay increases and promotions.
“One way of bullying is your colleagues or your boss impede your ability to do your job properly, make changes to your work or hand the fun and important tasks to others.”
When it comes to the type and frequency, the research shows men are just as exposed to work or personal related bullying, but are actually slightly more vulnerable to physical intimidation.
Earlier studies have shown bullying causes the same symptoms as post traumatic stress disorder.
It causes more long term sickness than violence, threats and sexual harassment.
A large part of the bullying in Danish workplaces will probably never come to light which, according to Prof Eriksen, simply underlines the gravity of the problem and the need for further research.
She said: “There are still many things we don’t know exactly. For example if the bullying follows the person or the workplace or both.
“But it is an expensive problem for society and for the individual, so we would like to dig deeper.”
The study, published in the journal Labour Economics, took into account factors such as the person’s previous sickness absence, attachment to the labour market, personality and the workplace’s characteristics.