Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Relationship Between Changes in Workplace Bullying Status and the Reporting of Personality Characteristics

Persson, Roger PhD; Høgh, Annie PhD; Grynderup, Matias Brødsgaard PhD; Willert, Morten Vejs PhD; Gullander, Maria PhD; Hansen, Åse Marie PhD; Kolstad, Henrik Albert MD, PhD; Mors, Ole MD, PhD; Mikkelsen, Eva Gemzøe PhD; Kristensen, Ann Suhl PhD; Kaerlev, Linda PhD; Rugulies, Reiner PhD; Bonde, Jens Peter Ellekilde MD, PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: September 2016 - Volume 58 - Issue 9 - p 902–910
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000822

Objective: To examine whether a shift in work-related bullying status, from being non-bullied to being bullied or vice versa, was associated with changes in reporting of personality characteristics.

Methods: Data on bullying and personality (neuroticism, extraversion, and sense of coherence) were collected in three waves approximately 2 years apart (N = 4947). Using a within-subjects design, personality change scores that followed altered bullying status were evaluated with one-sample t tests. Sensitivity analyses targeted depressive symptoms.

Results: Shifts from non-bullied to frequently bullied were associated with increased neuroticism or decreased sense of coherence manageability scores. Shifts from bullied to non-bullied were associated with decreasing neuroticism and increasing extraversion scores, or increasing sense of coherence meaningfulness and comprehensibility scores. Excluding depressive cases had minor effects.

Conclusions: Bullying seems to some extent to affect personality scale scores, which thus seem sensitive to environmental and social circumstances.

Department of Psychology, Lund University, Sweden (Dr Persson); The National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen (Drs Persson, Hansen, and Rugulies); Department of Psychology (Drs Høgh and Rugulies), Department of Public Health (Drs Grynderup, Hansen, and Rugulies), Copenhagen University; Department of Occupational Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital (Drs Willert and Kolstad); Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Bispebjerg Hospital, Copenhagen (Drs Gullander and Bonde); Research Department P, Aarhus University Hospital, Risskov (Drs Mors and Kristensen), CRECEA A/S, Aarhus (Dr Mikkelsen); Research Unit of Clinical Epidemiology, Institute of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark, Odense (Dr Kaerlev), Center for Clinical Epidemiology, Odense University Hospital, Odense (Dr Kaerlev), Denmark.

Address correspondence to: Roger Persson, PhD, Department of Psychology, Box 213, 221 00, Lund, Sweden (

This study was supported by The Danish Working Environment Research Fund, Grant no. 201000 19956.

One of the authors (HK) declares that he has received financial support from LO, the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions, and prepares specialists’ statements for the National Board of Occupational Injuries that processes notifications of depression following bullying as occupational disease. The other authors report that they have no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2016 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine