The experience of workplace bullying by correctional services officers

Vikki Knott, Toni Mellington, Maureen Dollard, Anthony Winefield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The experience of workplace bullying is linked with adverse consequences on employees' health and wellbeing. This article reports on the experience of bullying among correctional services officers. Contrasting two methodological approaches (that is, global definition versus negative acts), the authors assessed their specificity when predicting organisational outcomes such as job satisfaction and absenteeism. When using the global definition, the results indicated very high rates of bullying, with rates reported that were significantly higher than those observed overseas. Rates of bullying were somewhat lower when using the Negative Acts Questionnaire (NAQ). Frequently reported negative acts were being exposed to offensive language, withholding information, being humiliated, gossip and rumours, and being insulted. The NAQ was a superior predictor of absenteeism and job satisfaction compared with self-reported exposure to bullying (that is, using the global definition). However, the NAQ factors were differentially related to job satisfaction and absenteeism. These results, considered together, have implications for the development of policies and interventions aimed at reducing workplace bullying and maintaining optimal health in employees.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-65
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Occupational Health and Safety - Australia and New Zealand
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


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