Measuring exposure to bullying at work: The validity and advantages of the latent class cluster approach

G. Notelaers, S. Einarsen, H. de Witte, J.K. Vermunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

164 Citations (Scopus)
833 Downloads (Pure)


This paper addresses the construct and predictive validity of two methods for classifying respondents as victims of workplace bullying. Although bullying is conceived as a complex phenomenon, the dominant method used in bullying surveys, the operational classification method, only distinguishes two groups: victims versus non-victims. Hence, the complex nature of workplace bullying may not be accounted for. Therefore a latent class cluster approach is suggested to model the data, which was obtained by using the Negative Acts Questionnaire (NAQ) administered to employees in Belgium (n=6,175). Latent class modelling is a method of analysis that does not appear to have been used in occupational health psychology before. In this study, six latent classes emerged: “not bullied,” “limited work criticism,” “limited negative encounters,” “sometimes bullied,” “work related bullied,” and “victims.” The results show that compared to the traditional operational classification method, the latent class cluster approach shows higher construct and higher predictive validity with respect to self-assessments and indicators of strain and well-being at work. The consequences of these results for theory, future research, and practice are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-302
JournalWork & Stress
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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