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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00168

Well-being and functioning at work following thefts and robberies: A comparative study

  • 1University of Pavia, Italy
  • 2Tilburg University, Netherlands
  • 3Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, Ireland
  • 4European University of Rome, Italy

Thefts and robberies may be traumatizing experiences for employees. The aim of this study is to explore to what extent experiencing robberies and/or thefts at work affect workers’ mental health, coping-self-efficacy, social support seeking, workload and job satisfaction. Drawing on Conservation of Resources theory, this research contributes to our understanding of the psychological sequelae of robbery and theft for employees working in small businesses. The few studies on the effects of robberies and theft in the past have predominantly focused on bank employees.
A sample of Italian tobacconists and jewellers completed an anonymous self-report questionnaire examining the experience of robbery and/or theft, social support (Coping Orientation to Problem Experienced scale, COPE-IV), psycho-somatic well-being (General Health Questionnaire, GHQ-12), job satisfaction (a single item). Victims of thefts and/or robberies reported their PTSD symptoms (Impact of Event- Revised 6, IES-R-6) and trauma-related coping self-efficacy (Coping Self-Efficacy scale, CSE-7), based on the last event (N=319). Descriptive analyses, ANOVA, ANCOVA and multiple regressions analyses have been carried out.
The results indicated that victims of thefts and robberies experienced greater workload, higher psycho-physical complaints and greater tendency to seek social support in comparison with their non-affected counterparts. They additionally experienced more post-traumatic symptomatology and perceived lower coping self-efficacy, when compared to those who experienced thefts “only”.
Multiple regression analyses revealed that CSE was positively related to job satisfaction, although the presence of psycho-physical symptoms was the main predictor of job satisfaction among both non-affected and affected employees. PTSD was not an independent predictor of job satisfaction.
In sum, robberies and/or thefts exposure undermines differently workers’ well-being.

Keywords: Violence at work, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), psycho-somatic well-being, trauma-related coping self-efficacy (CSE), Job Satisfaction

Received: 27 Sep 2017; Accepted: 31 Jan 2018.

Edited by:

Olga Epitropaki, Durham University, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Natalio Extremera, University of Málaga, Spain
MICHELA CORTINI, Università degli Studi G. d'Annunzio Chieti e Pescara, Italy  

Copyright: © 2018 Setti, van der Velden, Sommovigo, Ferretti, Giorgi, O'Shea and Argentero. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: PhD. Ilaria Setti, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy,