Negative interpersonal relationships at work


Negative aspects of workplace interpersonal relationship, including bullying, conflicts and violence, are important chronic social stressors, which may lead to a range of psychological, biological and behavioral changes, and eventually result in the onset of cardiovascular disease or diabetes. However, the existing literature on workplace negative interpersonal relationship and cardio-metabolic disorders are limited and conflicting and mainly based on cross-sectional studies. Additionally, the underlying mechanistic pathways remain unclear. By identifying the potential mediating pathways through common mental health problems, inflammation, allostatic load trajectories and other known cardiac risk factors, the causal pathway between negative interpersonal relationship and cardio-metabolic diseases will be better understood. It may also inform evidence-based recommendation or policies targeting factors on the mediating pathways. The objective of the project is to identify and quantify the relation between workplace negative interpersonal relationships and cardio-metabolic disorders and elucidate the underlying mental, behavioral and biological mechanisms.

The research programme is embedded in the Nordic research project Psychosocial Work Environment and Healthy Ageing, work package 2, which has been established to shed a light on the mechanistic pathways in order to gain a better understanding of factors relevant to different levels of disease prevention, such as interventions and health policies. This work package 2 has brought together large cohort studies with long follow-up and at least three repeated measures. It also provides platform for exchanging the expertise and experience of mediation analysis.


We will use the data from the Integrated Datasets in Europe for Ageing Research (IDEAR), including the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health, the Whitehall II study, the Finnish Public Sector Study, the GAZEL cohort and the Danish Work Environment Cohort Study, with repeated measures for work environment, health-related behaviors and physiological functioning, physical and mental health.

Contact persons: Tianwei Xu ( and Naja Hulvej Rod (