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Workplace mistreatment can lead to more of suicide and suicidal thoughts in employees. Pixabay

If you ignore a colleague’s greeting or make a sarcastic comment in the workplace then it may actually do more harm to them than intended, a new study suggests. The study indicates that perceived low-grade forms of workplace mistreatment, such as avoiding eye contact or excluding a co-worker from conversation can amplify suicidal thoughts in employees with mood disorders.

“We know from prior research that minor forms of workplace mistreatment reduce employee engagement,” said researcher Kayla Follmer, Assistant Professor at the West Virginia University in the US.


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“But our paper provided an explanation about why this was occurring. Mistreatment increases suicidal ideation (thoughts) and because of that, work engagement is reduced,” Follmer added. For the study, published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, the research team surveyed 279 adults who are employed 20 or more hours a week and diagnosed with depression or bipolar disorder.

ALSO READ: 50% Male Employees Agree Bias Against Women in Workplace

The researchers then asked participants to rate various experiences relating to workplace mistreatment, suicidal ideation, and job engagement over several months. While research for this study was conducted before the Covid-19 pandemic, Follmer wonders if the world of remote work intensifies the effects of mental health and workplace engagement.

“Suicide and depression are very taboo, dark topics. It can be heavy at times to research, but that’s the responsibility we bear to bring these experiences into awareness for organizations and to tell them we can do better. And it’s our responsibility to do better for those individuals who need us,” the researcher said. (IANS)


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