Personality trait scores among occupationally active bullied persons and witnesses to bullying

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


There is little research on the personalities and emotional stability of persons who report being bullied or witnessing bullying at work. Men and women (N = 247) from 19 to 64 years of age and in manual labour completed a questionnaire concerning the psychosocial work climate, bullying and personality. Three groups were defined: bullied (N = 14), witnesses (N = 31) and non-bullied respondents (N = 202). The Swedish universities Scale of Personality was used to assess personality traits related to the three major dimensions of neuroticism, extraversion, and aggressiveness. Bullied persons had higher scores on all six scales within the neuroticism dimension as well as higher irritability (aggressiveness dimension) and impulsiveness scores (extraversion dimension), when compared with their non-bullied work colleagues. To conclude, bullied persons display a self-image that is dominated by mistrust and embitterment as well as irritability and impulsiveness. Accordingly, when dealing with bullying at work, the need for ego-supportive actions should be considered in conjunction with more organisational, collective oriented action.


External organisations
  • National Research Centre for the Working Environment
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health


  • questionnaire, Job content, Harassment, Extraversion, Aggressiveness, Anxiety, Work environment
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-399
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch