Bergen Bullying Research Group


The Negative Acts Questionnaire (NAQ; © Einarsen, Raknes, Matthiesen & Hellesøy, 1994; Hoel, 1999) is a research inventory developed for measuring perceived exposure to bullying and victimisation at work. Bullying research has lacked a standardised measurement tool (cf. Hoel, Rayner, & Cooper, 1999). Thus, incomparable measures and operationalisations have been used in research on workplace bullying. As a consequence we do not know if the same phenomenon has been measured across different studies. As no standard measure of workplace bullying exist in this field, we propose that the NAQ should be used in future studies allowing better comparisons of survey results from different national cultures and organisational settings. The NAQ is free to use for non-commercial research projects.

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 During its years of existence, several peer-review articles using the NAQ have been published. Moreover, the inventory is used in more than 100 on-going research projects around the world. The data from these projects will be gathered in the International Database on the Prevalence and risk factors of Bullying at work (IDPB). Thus, a condition for using the NAQ is that the Bergen Bullying Research Group is provided with NAQ-data collected. So far, we have gathered over 60 studies and more than 40000 respondents from about 40 countries in the IDPB. However, more data is needed, especially from Asia, Africa and North and South America.

Description of the NAQ

All items in the NAQ are written in behavioural terms with no reference to the term bullying. This has the advantage of letting participants respond to each item without having to label themselves as bullied or not. However, after responding to these items, a definition of bullying at work is introduced and the respondent must indicate whether or not they consider themselves as victims of bullying at work according to this definition. The scale has satisfactory reliability and construct validity. Studies have shown that the internal stability of the scale is high, ranging from .87 to .93 as measured by Cronbach’s alpha. Studies also show that the scale correlates with measures of job-satisfaction in the range of r= -.24 to r= -.44., with measures of psychological health and well being in the range of r=-.31 to -.52 and with measures of psychosomatic complaints (r= . 32).

Be aware that the NAQ is not a diagnostic instrument, but an inventory strictly made for measuring frequency, intensity and prevalence of workplace bullying.

Conditions for use of NAQ

If you are interested in using the Negative Acts Questionnaire in your research, please contact us. You are welcome to use this scale in your research as long as you agree with the following terms:

  1. That you give us a short description of your research project, and some information about yourself (workplace/institution, education/title).
  2. That you provide us with the NAQ data (only the NAQ data, not any other data you collect) after you have finished your study, including demographic data and response rate. These data must compatible with SPSS.
  3. That the use of the NAQ is for research purposes only (non- profit).
  4. That each permission is for one project only.
  5. That you provide us with any translation of the questionnaire you may do.

The reason we want a copy of your data is that we are in the process of developing a primary world-wide NAQ database so that we, in the years to come, can provide new users of the instrument with norm-data for comparing results between countries and between organisations. Hopefully, we may also be able to publish cross-cultural comparisons using these data.

If you are interested in using the NAQ inventory, please contact Guy Notelaers or Ståle Einarsen

For more information about the questionnaire, please see:

Einarsen, S., Hoel, H., & Notelaers, G. (2009). Measuring exposure to bullying and harassment at work: Validity, factor structure and psychometric properties of the Negative Acts Questionnaire-Revised. Work & Stress, 23(1), 24-44. doi:10.1080/02678370902815673

This paper contains all the information needed to use the questionnaire in research.

In addition, these articles may be useful: 

Notelaers, G., Van der Heijden, B., Hoel, H., & Einarsen, S. (2018). Measuring bullying at work with the short-negative acts questionnaire: identification of targets and criterion validity. Work & Stress, 1-18. doi:10.1080/02678373.2018.1457736. Click here to read the article. 

Gupta, R., Bakhshi, A., & Einarsen, S. (2017). Investigating workplace bullying in India: psychometric properties, validity, and cutoff scores of negative acts questionnaire–revised. SAGE Open, 7(2), 2158244017715674. Click here to read the article.