Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Dental Hygiene








Purpose: Workplace bullying in health care has been identified as a problem that negatively affects career satisfaction, career longevity and patient outcomes. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine the prevalence of workplace bullying in a convenience sample of dental hygienists in the state of Virginia.

Methods: Two hundred and forty Virginia dental hygienists attending a continuing education seminar were invited to participate. Using the Negative Acts Questionnaire-Revised (NAQ-R), respondents were asked to indicate how often they had experienced 22 negative acts or behaviors according to rate of occurrence (never, now and then or monthly, weekly or daily). Bullying was defined as experiencing two or more of the specified negative behaviors over the past 6 months. The negative behaviors were categorized into three subgroups: work-related bullying, personal bullying and physical intimidation.

Results: The response rate was 64%. Data revealed almost one fourth (24%) of respondents experienced workplace bullying. The most frequent behaviors experienced by those being bullied were having their opinions and views ignored (73%), experiencing unmanageable workloads (68%) and having their work excessively monitored (68%), on a weekly or daily basis.

Conclusions: Results from this study suggest approximately 1 out of 4 Virginia dental hygienists responding to this survey experience workplace bullying. Education and support to ensure identification of bullying may be helpful in promoting proactive awareness, prevention strategies and a healthier work environment leading to greater job satisfaction.

This manuscript supports the NDHRA priority area: Professional development: Occupational health (career satisfaction and longevity)


Copyright © 2018 The American Dental Hygienists’ Association.

Original Publication Citation

McCombs, G. B., Tolle, S. L., Newcomb, T. L., Bruhn, A. M., Hunt, A. W., & Stafford, L. K. (2018). Workplace bullying: A survey of Virginia dental hygienists. Journal of Dental Hygiene, 92(5), 22-29.