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Selected Development Project
Project Title

The Effects of Workplace Bullying on Chinese Children’s Health, Behaviors and School Adjustment via Parenting: A Longitudinal Study

Principal Investigator Dr NG Sau Man Catalina
Area of Research Project
Psychological Studies
Project Period
From 01/2017 To 06/2019
  1. To test in a hypothesized model the mediating role of parenting on the relationship between parents who are victims of workplace bullying and child’s health, psychological well-being, behaviors and school adjustment.
  2. To explore whether parents being bullied at baseline is predictive of any explanatory variables (children’s health, psychological well-being, problem behaviors and school adjustment) at follow-up.
  3. To estimate the annual and lifetime prevalence of workplace bullying in Hong Kong.
Methods Used
The study is a quantitative research using a 2-year longitudinal design. Data are collected from multi-informants, including class teachers, employed Chinese parents, and their children who are studying in primary schools in Hong Kong.
Summary of Findings
  1. Higher tendency of workplace bullying reported by parents was negatively related to self-reported children receiving better parenting, so the more parents said they experienced workplace bullying, the more children perceived they were receiving poor parenting.

  2. Parenting was negatively related to children’s poorer physical health based on data reported by parents and parents’ perception of children’s problem behaviors at home or school, which means that positive parenting was associated with better child physical health and less problem behaviours. But parenting was positively related to self-reported child positive psychological well-being, which means that parenting was associated with positive psychological well-being of children.

  3. Workplace bullying has an indirect effect on children's poor health, problem behaviours and well-being via parenting.

  4. 2809 parents working either full-time or part-time reported their experience about workplace bullying. 502 out of 2789 valid responses indicated that parents sometimes or often experienced workplace bullying in the past 12 months. 739 out of 2767 valid responses indicated that parents sometimes or often experienced workplace bullying in the course of their career. The annual and lifetime prevalence of workplace bullying were 18.0% (95% CI: 16.6% to 19.5%) and 26.7% (95% CI: 25.1% to 28.4%) respectively.

The results from the annual and lifetime prevalence rates of workplace bullying constitute a new piece of information in Hong Kong. This is important as workplace bullying is under-researched in the Asian context. The results revealed that the participants who are currently working in the current sample experienced different degrees of workplace bullying. The results were informative and could help the government and corporations to prevent bullying in the workplace and to promote a safe and respectful working environment.

In addition, the results showed that children whose parents were bullied in the workplace reported less optimal parenting, which was related to poor physical health and problem behavior in children. Positive parenting was related to positive child well-being. Our hypothesized model was that workplace bullying has an indirect effect on children’s health, well-being and behaviours. This was supported by the cross-sectional data. Therefore, parents need to be trained in emotional control and parenting.

Selected Output
  1. Effects of workplace bullying on Chinese children’s health, behaviors and school adjustment via parenting: study protocol for a longitudinal study. BMC Public Health.
Biography of Principal Investigator

Dr Ng Sau Man Catalina is an Assistant Professor of the Department of Early Childhood Education at The Education University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include family processes, child health, mental health, programme evaluation, and positive youth development.

Funding Source

Early Career Scheme