Bullying and Aggressive Behavior among Health Care Providers: Literature Review


Bullying is defined by American Psychological Association as an aggressive behavior which is intended to cause distress or harm and that involves an imbalance of power or strength between the aggressor and the victim. Bullying in the workplace is angering enough people these days to be fueling a nationwide grass-roots legislative effort to force companies to draft and enforce policies aimed at stopping it. Requiring such policies, according to those pushing the legislation, is not an attempt to spawn lawsuits, but an effort to force organizations to deal with the problem. Bullying is blamed for unnecessarily creating high costs of turnover, insurance claims and thwarted productivity. Disruptive behavior has been observed in almost all members of the healthcare team from physicians and nurses to pharmacy, radiology, and laboratory staff members. Physician behavior, however, may have the greatest impact because of the position of authority that doctors hold as members of the healthcare team. A team member may, from fear of intimidation or patronization, withhold valuable or even critical input, such as a medication error or a breakdown in adherence to safety protocols. Hospitals, departments and individual personnel need to develop a higher level of awareness of the problem both in others and in them. Anti-bullying policies should be given a higher profile.

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Pisklakov, S. , Tilak, V. , Patel, A. & Xiong, M. (2013). Bullying and Aggressive Behavior among Health Care Providers: Literature Review. Advances in Anthropology, 3, 179-182. doi: 10.4236/aa.2013.34024.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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