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Revista da Escola de Enfermagem da USP

Print version ISSN 0080-6234

Rev. esc. enferm. USP vol.49 no.2 São Paulo Mar./Apr. 2015

http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0080-623420150000200012 

Original Article

Scientific production on workplace bullying/harassment in dissertations and theses in the Brazilian scenario

Producción científica acerca del asedio moral en tesis de máster y doctorado en el escenario Brasileño

Isabelle Cristinne Pinto Costa 1   * 

Solange Fátima Geraldo da Costa 2  

Cristiani Garrido de Andrade 1  

Regina Célia de Oliveira 3  

Fátima Maria da Silva Abrão 4  

Carlos Roberto Lyra da Silva 5  

1PhD student, Universidade Federal da Paraíba, João Pessoa, PB, Brasil

2Professor of the Post-Graduate Program of Nursing, Universidade Federal da Paraíba, João Pessoa, PB, Brasil

3Professor of the Post-Graduate Program of Nursing, Universidade de Pernambuco, Recife, PE, Brasil

4Coordinator of the Post-Graduate Program of Nursing, Universidade Estadual da Paraíba, João Pessoa, PB, Brasil

5Coordinator of the Post-Graduate Program of Nursing, Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil


ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE

To analyze scientific production about workplace bullying and harassment in dissertations and theses in Brazil, with emphasis on the year of publication; educational institution; area of knowledge; professional and academic background of the authors; keywords used; and concept map organization.

METHOD

Bibliometric study with a quantitative approach with a sample consisting of 57 papers, 5 theses and 52 dissertations, published between 2002 and 2012.

RESULTS

It was found that 2012 was the year with the highest number of publications in this topic area. The region that stood out was the Southeast. The institution with the highest number of publications was the Federal University of Santa Catarina. There was a predominance of dissertations and most publications were produced by researchers focused on a multidisciplinary perspective.

CONCLUSION

Expanding the views regarding bullying in order to disseminate scientific production was proposed, promoting further advancement of debates and raising pertinent questions.

Key words: Work; Occupational Health; Violence; Social Behavior

RESUMEN

OBJETIVO

Analizar la producción científica acerca del asedio moral en tesis de máster y doctorado en Brasil, con énfasis en el año de publicación; institución de enseñanza; área del conocimiento; formación profesional y académica de los autores; palabras-clave empleadas; y organización en un mapa conceptual.

MÉTODO

Estudio bibliométrico con abordaje cuantitativo cuya muestra estuvo compuesta de 57 tesis, siendo cinco de doctorado y 52 de máster, publicadas en el período de 2002 a 2012.

RESULTADOS

Se verificó que 2012 fue el año con mayor cantidad de publicaciones. La región que se destacó fue la Sureste. La institución con mayor cantidad de publicaciones fue la Universidad Federal de Santa Catarina. Hubo predominancia de las tesis de máster, y la mayoría de las publicaciones fue producida por investigadores dirigidos a la perspectiva multiprofesional.

CONCLUSIÓN

Se propone ampliar la visión acerca del asedio moral, de manera a diseminar la producción científica, promocionar el avance del debate y el relevamiento de los temas pertinentes.

Palabras-clave: Trabajo; Salud Laboral; Violencia; Conducta Social

RESUMO

Objetivo

Analisar a produção científica acerca de assédio moral em dissertações e teses no Brasil, com ênfase no ano de publicação; instituição de ensino; área do conhecimento; formação profissional e acadêmica dos autores; palavras-chave empregadas; e organização em um mapa conceitual.

Método

Estudo bibliométrico com abordagem quantitativa cuja amostra foi composta por 57 trabalhos, sendo cinco teses e 52 dissertações, publicadas no período de 2002 a 2012.

Resultados

Verificou-se que em 2012 foi o ano com maior quantidade de publicações. A região que se sobressaiu foi o Sudeste. A instituição com maior quantidade de publicações foi a Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina. Houve predominância das dissertações de mestrado e a maioria das publicações foi produzida por pesquisadores voltados à perspectiva multiprofissional.

Conclusão

Propõe-se ampliar a visão acerca do assédio moral, de forma a disseminar a produção científica, promover o avanço do debate e o levantamento das questões pertinentes.

Palavras-Chave: Trabalho; Saúde do Trabalhador; Violência; Comportamento Social

Introduction

Workplace bullying/harassment have existed as long as labor itself, however only at the end of the last century was it identified and characterized as a destructive phenomenon for workplace relations, the organizational environment and often to the employees themselves(1).

This practice is understood as a subtle, concealed, intentional, repetitive or prolonged psychological violence, with the intention of humiliating and socially excluding a person in the workplace context, causing psychosocial stress and damage to society and the organization(2).

It should be noted that among the various countries where this topic is researched, terms like mobbing, workplace bullying, moral harassment, psychological harassment and psychological terror have been used interchangeably to define a type of personal, moral, psychological, vertical (up or down) or horizontal violence in the workplace(3).

With this approach, a study(4) points out that bullying between the harasser and the harassed may happen among different social contexts such as: in a descending order, being between supervisor and subordinates, corresponding to the most serious and most frequent type; in a horizontal order, in which harassment aggressions are carried among co-workers of the same hierarchical level; in an ascending order, when a superior is harassed by one or more subordinates. Other studies(5-6) include mixed bullying, characterized by the presence of vertical and horizontal harasser and victim.

However, psychological repercussions of bullying are not only limited to targeting individuals, they may put employees in a vulnerable position and when prolonged may even cause serious damage to the victim's health in subtle and indirect ways. Thus, this phenomenon at work can cause a number of psychosocial and physiological manifestations. Among the psychosocial are: depression(7), fatigue, frequent memories of experienced bullying behavior, compromises to life outside of work, extreme sadness in remembering the behaviors(8), anxiety, loneliness and fear(9). Among the predominating physiological manifestations are: headache and gastrointestinal complaints, disturbances in sleep pattern, chest pain, palpitations, and an increased or decreased appetite(10).

It is noteworthy that the negative consequences of bullying are not limited to victims of bullying. They are also reflected by economic losses to businesses caused by absenteeism, sick leave, replacements, and costs related to legal proceedings. It is also worth mentioning that as a result of bullying, many victims have poor health which prevents them from performing their work tasks leading to incompetence, and in severe cases their early retirement, overloading the social security system(11).

Thus, by assessing that bullying has become an emerging theme in the Brazilian work environment which needs further dissemination of knowledge produced in graduate programs, it was considered appropriate to explore the available knowledge concerning it. This bibliometric study has the following guiding question: What is the scientific production about bullying in dissertations and theses in Brazil? Consequently, the study has the following objectives: to review scientific literature about bullying in dissertations and theses in Brazil, with an emphasis on: year of publication; educational institution; knowledge area; professional and academic background of the authors; the keywords used and their organization in a conceptual map. The information above is considered relevant to this study as it provides greater visibility to scientific production from dissertations and theses on the subject of bullying in our country under the multidisciplinary perspective.

Method

This is bibliometric study with a quantitative approach. Bibliometrics is used to quantify the processes of written communication and bibliometric indicators are used to measure scientific production(12-13).

This methodology allows for analyzing and evaluating the sources of the disseminated work, the chronological evolution of scientific production, the productivity of authors and institutions, the spread of scientific publications, the growth of any field of science and the impact of publications on the international scientific community(12,14).

For the selection of dissertations and theses that focused on the subject of bullying the following digital libraries were selected: Public Domain Portal, Universidade de São Paulo (USP), Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC) and the Theses and Dissertations Portal of Higher Education Personnel Training Coordination (Capes).

The search of dissertations and theses in these databases was performed using the health terminology available in Medical Subject Headings (MeSH). This is a set of terms and descriptors organized into a hierarchical structure that allows for conducting a search in various levels of specificity.

Next, the available terms from the Descriptors in Health Sciences (DeCS) were consulted, which serve as the default language for indexing scientific studies and journals in health.

Data collection occurred from December 2013 to March 2014. Descriptors such as violence or violência; work or trabalho and occupational health or saúde do trabalhador were identified. The use of these descriptors was conditional upon their presentation in the study title in order to refine the search and focus on the selected theme. Thus, it was possible to identify 65 studies (theses/dissertations).

To select the sample, the following inclusion criteria were adopted: publication in the form of dissertation or thesis in full text which addressed violence, work and/or occupational health in its title, from 2002 to 2012. There were five studies excluded that did not show the respective descriptors in their titles, and two studies were appeared twice in Theses and Dissertations Portal of Capes and the Digital Library of UFRJ. Therefore, the study sample was composed of 57 articles; 5 theses and 52 dissertations, which were organized and stored in folders and named according to the digital library in which they were located.

It is worth noting that a search in lattes curricula of researchers of the selected works for the sample was carried out in order to identify the works as either theses or dissertations. Only 20 papers published in the form of articles, books and/or presented at conferences were identified.

A data collection form was implemented to facilitate the analysis of selected studies with relevant items to the study, such as: educational institution, professional and academic background of the authors, research mode, level of research (dissertation / thesis), participant group of study, year of defense and descriptors used. With regard to the descriptors, the conceptual map methodology was used to organize the terms, searching for relationships between concepts linked by them.

The approach of conceptual maps is based on a constructivist theory. It is an evaluation tool that enables knowledge organization promoting experiences that give rise to reflection, seeking to understand and process information, thus facilitating learning(15).

We tried to identify an affinity between the related keywords in theses and dissertations surveyed to one that was considered the central theme of bullying, not only for its incidence among research, but also for being the subject of this study and to have a clear concept. In finding identity for conceptual thematic affinity, the keywords were grouped from the main according to a systematic organization in thematic classes, but not hierarchically.

Thus, the study data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, with frequency distribution in absolute numbers and percentages arranged in charts and tables.

Results

The sample was composed of 57 works that focused on the theme of bullying; 5 theses and 52 dissertations. Figure 1 shows that the greatest number of publications occurred in 2012, with 19 (33.34%), followed by 2009, with 13 (22.80%) and 2007 with 5 (8.77%).

Figure 1 Distribution of studies on bullying in relation to the year of publication, from 2002 to 2012 - João Pessoa, PB, Brazil 

As for the region of post-graduate programs where the studies were developed, the one that stood out the most was the Southeast with 30 studies (52.60%), followed by South with 18 (31.60 %), and the Northeast with 9 (15.80%). It should also be noted that there were not any works identified on the investigated subject in the North or Midwest.

In regards to the institution of higher education where the research was conducted, UFSC had the most with 8 studies (14.00%), followed by USP with 6 (10.52%), and UFRJ with 5 (8.80%) (Table 1).

Table 1 Distribution of studies on bullying at work in relation to higher education institution - João Pessoa, PB, Brazil, 2002-2012 

INSTITUTION N %
NORTHEAST
Universidade Federal da Paraíba 02 3.50
Universidade Federal do Ceará 01 1.75
Universidade de Fortaleza 02 3.50
Universidade Federal do Piauí 01 1.75
Universidade Federal da Bahia 01 1.75
Universidade Estadual do Ceará 01 1.75
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco 01 1.75
SOUTH
Centro Universitário de Maringá 01 1.75
Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul 02 3.50
Universidade de Caxias do Sul 01 1.75
Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos 02 3.50
Universidade Estadual de Maringá 02 3.50
Universidade Estadual de Ponta Grossa 01 1.75
Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina 08 14.03
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul 01 1.75
SOUTHEAST
Centro Universitário do Triângulo 01 1.75
Centro Universitário Eurípedes de Marília 01 1.75
Centro Universitário São Camilo 01 1.75
Faculdade Novos Horizontes 01 1.75
Fundação Getulio Vargas 01 1.75
Fundação Mineira de Educação e Cultura 01 1.75
Fundação Oswaldo Cruz 01 1.75
Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo 02 3.50
Universidade de São Paulo 06 10.52
Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro 01 1.75
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais 01 1.75
Universidade Federal de São Carlos 01 1.75
Universidade Federal de Uberlândia 01 1.75
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro 05 8.95
Universidade Federal do Triangulo Mineiro 02 3.50
Universidade Federal Fluminense 01 1.75
Universidade Metropolitana de Santos 01 1.75
Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie 01 1.75
Universidade Veiga de Almeida 01 1.75
Total 57 100.00

Note:(n = 57)

As for the professional and academic background, researchers from different knowledge areas were identified (Table 2).

Table 2 Professional Education and the authors of the papers about harassment - Joao Pessoa, PB, Brazil, 2002-2012 

Vocational training n % Academic training N %
Law 18 31.60 Master's 50 87.71
Psychology 16 28.07
Nursing 08 14.03
Administration 07 12.30
Pedagogy 02 3.50
Social Services 02 3.50 Doctorate 07 12.29
Social Media 01 1.75
Physiotherapy 01 1.75
Medicine 01 1.75
Tourism Management 01 1.75
Total 57 100 Total 57 100

Note:(n = 57)

With regard to the most evidenced keywords, it is emphasized that bullying descriptor was mentioned in 42 works (74.00%). It is also observed that the descriptor violence was used in 8 studies (14.00%) and work in 6 (11.11%) (Chart 1).

Chart 1 Keywrds for the research on harrassment - João Pessoa, PB, Brazil, 2002 - 2012 

The analysis of descriptors enabled the concept map shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2 Concept map drawn from the descriptors of dissertations and theses selected for the study - João Pessoa, PB, Brazil, 2002-2012 

Discussion

In Brazil, the consideration on bullying has gained more prominence after the publication of a master's dissertation in Social Psychology entitled A journey of humiliation, by Margarida Barreto, done in 2000. This was ​​the first research done in the Workers Union of Chemical, Plastic, and Pharmaceutical related industries of São Paulo(3). From there, the discussions on the subject have become more recurrent in newspapers, magazines, on television and on the Internet.

The data obtained from the analysis of the year of publication of dissertations/theses pointed out that studies on bullying in Brazil post-graduate programs have been intensified, although the subject has been approached slowly and timidly.

One study(16) indicates that from 1996 to 2003, the publications are almost exclusively dealing with the topic of sexual harassment, leaving open a broader scope of this subject from 2004. Furthermore, nothing was found in the national literature on this theme from 2003 to 2004.

However, with bullying in its various manifestations, a theme that has emerged with increasing frequency in the media and in discussions in legal or business planning, questioning connected to the reasons of its presence is necessary even though this subject is so incipient in academic studies.

The major conceptual challenges revolving around the theme of bullying are also important, and thereby contribute to the understanding of such a small amount of significant research on this subject.

It should be noted that among the 57 studies analyzed in this survey, only 20 resulted in papers published in the form of articles, books and/or presented at conferences. Such productions derived from dissertations and theses are of paramount importance, since that will allow for the dissemination of research results to the general public.

Regarding the items from the theses and dissertations, there was the release of 12 articles published in renowned national and international journals; among them are: Bullying situations experienced by nurses in the workplace (Acta Paulista of Nursing); Harassment at work and their representations in the news media (Journal of Public Health); Violencia psicológica y asedio moral vertical ascendiente en dos escuelas públicas de Porto Alegre, Brasil (Salud de los Trabajadores); Harassment at work Empowerment and autonomy coping strategies of young workers (Work); and Psychological violence in the management of health workers: a study from the Brazilian context (International Journal of Advances in Management and Economics).

With respect to books, there was the publication of five titles, highlighted by: Features of bullying; Harassment: an analysis of the abuse of rights theory applied to the power of the employer; and Relations of power and work in the contemporary world.

With regard to the disclosure in Congresses, three papers were identified: The vision of nursing managers about bullying: a bioethical issue (Brazilian Bioethics Congress VIII); The role of the brave militia organizational culture in the occurrence of bullying: a study of the Military Police of Bahia (People Management and Labor Relations from the Post-Graduate National Association and Research in Administration Meeting I); and Relationship between bullying and burnout in academics: a theoretical review (Brazilian Psychology Congress III: Science and Profession).

These data reflect a scientific concern because researchers need to understand the magnitude of the dissemination of research results. In this context, it is extremely important to implement strategies for disseminating the work coming from theses and dissertations. It is therefore necessary to modernize the training process; encourage young creative talent by involving them in research and extension activities; and encourage students to integrate research groups from universities with a common goal in order to meet the demands of society. Researchers have a responsibility to submit their manuscripts to journals.

As for the regional distribution of graduate programs that addressed bullying in dissertations and theses, there is the Southeast, with the following universities: UFSC, USP and UFRJ. According to a study(3), the predominance of the Southeast may be due to the fact that most graduate courses are located in this region of the country. Such evidence may also be related to the fact that the studies on this subject in Brazil began in the Southeast with the master's thesis by Margarida Barreto(3).

In relation to the area of knowledge of publications and training of the authors, it is observed that most come from the Humanities and Health Sciences, which are highlighted by psychology, law and nursing. These findings were also reported in studies(11) whose focus was to characterize scientific production on the scenarios of bullying in online journals of Health Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities in the 2002-2010 period. It is important to emphasize that among health professionals, nursing has had greater scientific production on this theme. This relevance is justified because of the greater vulnerability of these professionals to the subject of bullying, as pointed out in international studies(9- 10). Therefore, there is a need for further research.

With regard to the descriptors, it is observed that those employed most frequently in the dissertations and theses were: bullying, violence and work. It is appropriate to note that this term bullying is not included in the DeCS or MeSH. Therefore, this study suggests its inclusion in order to facilitate research work on this theme which is so relevant today.

Great variability and spectrum of descriptors were found in consulting the DeCS; they range from work processes, work organization, changes in the world of work and labor management to psychological violence, discontentment and hostile behavior, which shows that this subject should be treated as knowledge under construction.

The concept map shown in Figure 2 emerged from organizing the descriptors. It was developed from the similarity of the meaning of the terms or the morphological relationship between words. The idea of this map was to organize and gather all the keywords collected in dissertations and theses. It is noteworthy that the concept map is considered a graphical representation which stimulates the concepts of organization and unity of theory and practice. Through the conceptual map, key concepts of a particular subject were identified, joined to show their connections and to provide information on the content, structure and knowledge of interrelations in the identified(15) study.

Some important aspects can be pointed out from the concept map constructed in this study, such as factors related to the development of bullying; vulnerable workers who suffer from such practices; signs and symptoms triggered; the interference of these practices in the lives of those targeted; and strategies to counter against it.

As for factors related to harassment/bullying, studies showed the following descriptors: work; work environment; working conditions; workplace violence; quality of work life; employment relationships, bullying; mobbing; power relations; abuse of rights; and pedagogical practice.

These descriptors indicate that the occurrence of bullying is favored in institutions characterized by strict procedures in hierarchical relationships.

Bullying is characterized by the deliberate degradation of working conditions, because when it takes effect, it is able to establish a covenant of tolerance and collective silence concerning gradual destabilization and weakening of the victim(17).

One study(18)points out that harassment occurs more frequently in institutions characterized by a rigid hierarchy; it also highlights that bullying is more evident in the private sector, where it lasts for less time and usually ends with the departure of the company's victim. In contrast, in the public sector it can last for years as people are protected by the organization; this can contribute to the harassment if not properly investigated.

In addition, it is noteworthy that bullying practices in this scenario/situation do not seek to cause the dismissal of the employee because it is a public organization. The primary purpose is to denigrate the victim's image, to cause their suffering in the workplace or favor their transfer to another sector, which can cause dissatisfaction and anxiety(19).

With regard to vulnerable individuals who suffer from such practice, dissertations and theses included in the study highlighted the following key words: Worker; banking; adolescent workers; health professionals; nurses; teachers; university professor; students; student-workers; college students; and medical students.

These findings refer to the understanding that all workers can be victims of disturbances which occur due to adverse conditions at work. In the analysis of several articles about this subject, research(20) identified a plurality of activity sectors: banks, private security, public administration and public-private service in the transportation sector. This helps to break the myth that bullying is a specific problem only for certain activities and/or professions or precarious activities.

It should be noted that educational institutions are considered practical scenarios of bullying. This environment is marked by disputes over positions, publications and funded research, with an environment conducive to situations of bullying(21).

In one research(18) developed in order to identify the occurrence of this practice among teachers of a public university, most study subjects claimed it to be a common problem at the university and one which occurs mainly among colleagues (horizontal bullying) and between head / superior and subordinate (descending bullying).

When considering the vulnerable population who suffer from the practice of bullying, health professionals also stand out in addition to teachers and students. One study(22) emphasized the need for these professionals to be aware of possible bullying situations because their activities are considered especially stressful.

Studies show nursing professionals as one of the most vulnerable to bullying situations in the health area because of the oppressive working conditions, the competition for power and conflicting relationships between team members, and may have negative consequences for health professional(23). Another study(2) conducted in the country highlighted nurses' dissatisfaction with their work due to the absence of good interpersonal skills among health professionals, which predisposes the occurrence of this situation.

In some ways the hospital environment favors this type of violence among nurses as it is a rigid structure with overvaluation of the hierarchy; in addition, the category of nursing professionals is subject to multiple emotional, cognitive and physical demands that generate negative effects(24).

One study(25) confirms the presence of bullying at work in the nursing environment, however it points out that many of these professionals have accepted it and reproduced this type of violence as part of the organizational culture. This has led to illness, with consequent loss in their duties.

In this light, it is believed there is a need for professional awareness about bullying, particularly its presence and losses arising from it, as well as the importance of adopting effective strategies to address it.

With respect to losses, the studies examined in this study employed the following thematic units: psychological stress; negative behaviors; discontentment; burnout syndrome; hostile behavior; suffering at work.

In research(2) developed to analyze the concept of bullying under the evolutionary perspective as expressed in the literature of health, law, social and human sciences, it was observed that the consequences resulting from this situation are divided into three categories: psychosomatic disorders; business problems; and social problems.

In relation to psychosomatic disorders, these refer to the damage caused to the mental and physical health of the victims of harassment. Among them are: depression, stress, low self-esteem, burnout, insomnia, fatigue, stomach problems (especially gastritis and ulcers), cardiovascular disorders (such as tachycardia and hypertension), pain and in extreme cases, suicide(26-28).

Therefore, it is noteworthy that the problems posed by bullying often incapacitate the worker to perform their activities and decrease their performance at work, increasing absenteeism and thereby decreasing the productivity and profit of the company(27).

It is in this sense that the investigated theses and dissertations employed many descriptors to report that bullying affects health and worker income, productivity, mental health and human dignity, social behavior, self-esteem and moral and ethical aspects.

Therefore, it is observed that bullying is considered a multidimensional psychosocial syndrome, as it features several physical and psychological symptoms that affect the individual, work group and the organization, and produces dysfunction at the individual and collective level, reaching all hierarchical levels, with negative repercussions for the image of the company(29).

Given these considerations, it is emphasized that the effects of bullying in the lives of human beings are devastating, especially with regard to the development of psycho-emotional disorders. It is increasingly fundamental to preserve the health of workers and one of the ways to do so is to adopt preventive measures.

Several studies have employed the following keywords to report how bullying can be overcome: public denunciation; changes in the workplace; organization of work; management of the work; people management; the employer; and public policy.

One study(22) highlights the following as prevention measures: the creation of healthy environments and relationships of trust and equality between people; the implementation of a code of ethics and/or practice within institutions; and training programs for the prevention of violent behavior at work.

Another study(30) highlights the need for educational campaigns with posters and lectures which may be beneficial for bringing forth a problem that is often seen as taboo. It stresses that an institution can give its members more support by including administrative action against the harasser in its bylaws, and to assume responsibility to provide an environment in which victims can confidentially and spontaneously report episodes of harassment.

However, there are not enough individual measures. Institutions can and should engage in creating prevention, containment and intervention in this type of violence from the perspective of building a more ethical, humanized and consequently healthier care environment(25).

Conclusion

Studies of bullying in graduate programs in Brazil are recent. This shows the concern of researchers about this subject, seeking greater visibility on the topic in academia.

The bibliometric indicators investigated emphasize that the dissertations and theses that address bullying show up in the incipient period selected for this study, with a predominance of master's. As for the areas of knowledge, it was observed that the largest number of publications were produced by researchers with backgrounds in psychology, law and nursing. The Southeast was indicated as the region that stood out in relation to publications on the subject and the higher education institution with the highest scientific production was the UFSC.

The bibliometric indicator about the descriptors points out that there is evidence that the subject is in broad development, since the number of themes from these demonstrates the variety of its scope.

Thus, it is proposed with this work to expand the overall scope and vision about bullying in order to disseminate the scientific production, promote advancement of the debate and raising of the relevant issues. On the other hand, this study has some limitations such as the small amount of domestic theses and dissertations on the subject, making it difficult to generalize the investigated bibliometric indicators.

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Received: August 22, 2014; Accepted: November 28, 2014

Corresponding author: Isabelle Cristinne Pinto Costa. Núcleo de Estudos e Pesquisas em Bioética. (Center for Studies and Research in Bioethics). Cidade Universitária, s/n - Castelo Branco. CEP 58051-900 - João Pessoa, PB, Brazil. Email: belle_costa@hotmail.com

Autor Correspondente: Isabelle Cristinne Pinto Costa. Núcleo de Estudos e Pesquisas em Bioética. Cidade Universitária, s/n - Castelo Branco. CEP 58051-900 - João Pessoa, PB, Brasil. Email: belle_costa@hotmail.com

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