Exploring the impact of workplace cyberbullying on trainee doctors

Objectives: Workplace bullying is an occupational hazard for trainee doctors. However little is known about their experiences of cyberbullying at work. This study examines the impact of cyberbullying among trainee doctors, and how attributions of blame for cyberbullying influenced individual and work‐related outcomes. Methods: Doctors more than six months into their training were asked to complete an online survey that included measures of cyberbullying, blame attribution, negative emotion, job satisfaction, interactional justice and mental strain. In total, 158 trainee doctors (104 females, 54 males) completed the survey. Results: Overall, 71 (45%) respondents experienced at least one act of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying adversely impacted on job satisfaction (β=‐0.19; P<.05) and mental strain (β=0.22; P<.001), although attributions of blame for the cyberbullying influenced its impact and the mediation path. Negative emotion mediated the relationship between self‐blame for a cyberbullying act and mental strain; whereas interactional injustice mediated the association between blaming the perpetrator and job dissatisfaction. Conclusions: Cyberbullying acts were experienced by nearly half of the sample during their training and were found to significantly relate to ill‐health and job dissatisfaction. The deleterious impact of cyberbullying can be addressed through both workplace policies and training for trainee doctors and other experienced medical professionals.