An app for detecting bullying of nurses using convolutional neural networks and web-based computerized adaptive testing: Development and usability study

Shu Ching Ma, Willy Chou, Tsair Wei Chien, Julie Chi Chow, Yu Tsen Yeh, Po Hsin Chou, Huan Fang Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Workplace bullying has been measured in many studies to investigate its effects on mental health issues. However, none have used web-based computerized adaptive testing (CAT) with bully classifications and convolutional neural networks (CNN) for reporting the extent of individual bullying in the workplace. Objective: This study aims to build a model using CNN to develop an app for automatic detection and classification of nurse bullying-levels, incorporated with online Rasch computerized adaptive testing, to help assess nurse bullying at an earlier stage. Methods: We recruited 960 nurses working in a Taiwan Ch-Mei hospital group to fill out the 22-item Negative Acts Questionnaire-Revised (NAQ-R) in August 2012. The k-mean and the CNN were used as unsupervised and supervised learnings, respectively, for: (1) dividing nurses into three classes (n=918, 29, and 13 with suspicious mild, moderate, and severe extent of being bullied, respectively); and (2) building a bully prediction model to estimate 69 different parameters. Finally, data were separated into training and testing sets in a proportion of 70:30, where the former was used to predict the latter. We calculated the sensitivity, specificity, and receiver operating characteristic curve (area under the curve [AUC]), along with the accuracy across studies for comparison. An app predicting the respondent bullying-level was developed, involving the model's 69 estimated parameters and the online Rasch CAT module as a website assessment. Results: We observed that: (1) the 22-item model yields higher accuracy rates for three categories, with an accuracy of 94% for the total 960 cases, and accuracies of 99% (AUC 0.99; 95% CI 0.99-1.00) and 83% (AUC 0.94; 95% CI 0.82-0.99) for the lower and upper groups (cutoff points at 49 and 66 points) based on the 947 cases and 42 cases, respectively; and (2) the 700-case training set, with 95% accuracy, predicts the 260-case testing set reaching an accuracy of 97. Thus, a NAQ-R app for nurses that predicts bullying-level was successfully developed and demonstrated in this study. Conclusions: The 22-item CNN model, combined with the Rasch online CAT, is recommended for improving the accuracy of the nurse NAQ-R assessment. An app developed for helping nurses self-assess workplace bullying at an early stage is required for application in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere16747
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Informatics


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