Do targets of workplace bullying portray a general victim personality profile?

Scand J Psychol. 2007 Aug;48(4):313-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9450.2007.00554.x.


The aim of this study is to examine differences in personality between a group of bullied victims and a non-bullied group. The 144 participants, comprising of 72 victims and a matched contrast group of 72 respondents, completed Goldberg's (1999) International Personality Item Pool (IPIP). Significant differences emerged between victims and non-victims on four out of five personality dimensions. Victims tended to be more neurotic and less agreeable, conscientious and extravert than non-victims. However, a cluster analysis revealed that the victim sample can be divided into two personality groups. One cluster, which comprised 64% of the victim sample, do not differ from non-victims as far as personality is concerned. Hence, the results indicate that there is no such thing as a general victim personality profile. However, a small cluster of victims tended to be less extrovert, less agreeable, less conscientious, and less open to experience but more emotional unstable than victims in the major cluster and the control group. Further, both clusters of victims scored higher than non-victims on emotional instability, indicating that personality should not be neglected as being a factor in understanding the bullying phenomenon.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Crime Victims*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Assessment
  • Personality*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workplace / psychology*