USC study looks at bullying and job burnout - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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USC study looks at bullying and job burnout

3 Jul 2017

USC study hopes to gain greater insight into the role that bullying plays in workplace stress and burnout.

Psychology Honours student Clare Farley and her supervisor, Lecturer in Psychology Dr Prudence Millear, are conducting the research that will also investigate whether workplace stress varies among regional and city areas, and within different-sized organisations and industries.

“We are exploring the causes and consequences of bullying and stress in the workplace and hope to make a valuable contribution to existing studies,” Ms Farley said.

“The survey will help to evaluate the impact that different workplace elements may have on stress levels, by assessing the interactions people have at work, their roles and the organisations in which they work.”

Ms Farley said the key focus area was the relationship between bullying and burnout.

“Sadly, when someone experiences burnout, the repair process they must go through is long, expensive and difficult to bounce back from.

“It is expected that those with greater optimism, self-efficacy, resources and job safety, and fewer job demands and the absence of bullying, will have greater work engagement and lower levels of burnout.”

The researchers are hoping to attract a wide-cross section of participants aged 16 years or over, who work four or more hours each week, to take part in the survey. It is available at

Ms Farley said working in a variety of jobs since graduating from high school in Adelaide more than 30 years ago, had given her a keen interest in the psychology of the workplace.

“I currently work full-time as a practice manager at a local law firm and consider myself fortunate to both enjoy my job and to be able to study part-time,” said Ms Farley, who worked in the travel industry in Adelaide before moving to the Sunshine Coast 13 years ago.

“I have always been interested in the way people think, which motivated me to start a degree in Psychology at USC in 2010.”

“Before this, I never thought I would be prepared to make the time needed to apply myself to complete a university degree.”

After graduating with a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) in 2014, Ms Farley started USC’s Honours program last year.

— Clare McKay 

USC Psychology Honours student Clare Farley

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