About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER

Sexual Harassment Linked to Severe Depression

by Bidita Debnath on September 25, 2017 at 11:50 PM
Font : A-A+

 Sexual Harassment Linked to Severe Depression

In most modern legal contexts, sexual harassment is illegal. Employees who experience sexual harassment by supervisors, colleagues or subordinates in the workplace may develop more severe symptoms of depression than employees who experience harassment by clients or customers.

This is according to a study involving 7603 employees from across 1041 organizations in Denmark. The research is published in the open access journal BMC Public Health.



Dr. Ida Elisabeth Huitfeldt Madsen, National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Denmark, the corresponding author said: "We were surprised to see the differences between the effects of harassment by clients or customers compared to harassment by other employees. This is not something that has been shown before. Previous research showed an increased risk of long term sickness absence for employees exposed to sexual harassment by a colleague, supervisor or subordinate but an increased risk was not always found in association with sexual harassment by clients or customers."

Dr. Madsen added: "Our findings suggest that sexual harassment from clients or customers has adverse consequences and should not be normalized or ignored. In this study we found that sexual harassment from clients or customers, which is more prevalent than harassment from other employees, is associated with an increased level of depressive symptoms. This is important as some workplaces, for example in person-related work like care work or social work, may have an attitude that dealing with sexual harassment by clients or customers is 'part of the job'."

The researchers found that compared to employees not exposed to sexual harassment, employees harassed by clients or customers scored 2.05 points higher on the Major Depression Inventory (MDI) - a self-report mood questionnaire that generates a diagnosis of depression together with an estimate of symptom severity. Scores on the MDI range from 20 for minor depression to 30 or more for major depression. Employees harassed by a colleague, supervisor or subordinate scored 2.45 points higher compared to employees who had experienced sexual harassment by clients or customers.

When looking at clinical depression only, the researchers found no increased risk among those harassed by clients or customers compared to those not exposed to harassment, whereas those harassed by colleagues, supervisors or subordinates had a significantly higher risk of clinical depression.

Out of the 7603 employees who participated in this study, 2.4% (180) were exposed to sexual harassment by clients or customers, while 1.0% (79) were exposed to harassment by colleagues. Women were more likely to be exposed than men, with 169 out of 4116 women reporting sexual harassment by clients or customers compared to 11 out of 3487 men, and 48 women reporting sexual harassment by colleagues compared to 31 men. Participants employed in care work were more often exposed to sexual harassment by clients or customers - 152 out of 2191 (6.9%) - than participants employed in other occupational groups such as education, service or industrial work.

The authors note that as the number of exposed individuals in this study was relatively low, this increases the uncertainty of the reported estimates, especially for men. The observed associations may thus largely be reflective of women's experiences. The cross-sectional observational design of this study does not allow for conclusions about cause and effect. Also, the use of self-reported data that relied on participant recall may have led to sexual harassment being under- or over-reported.

Despite these limitations, the authors suggest that it is important to investigate sexual harassment from clients or customers and sexual harassment by colleagues, supervisors or subordinates as distinct types of harassment and to identify methods to prevent sexual harassment and the development of depressive symptoms.

Source: Eurekalert

News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Contraceptive Pills in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Curtail Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Mushroom May Help Cut Down the Odds of Developing Depression
How to Battle Boredom during COVID
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Adolescence Depression Depression Stress Relief Through Alternative Medicine Andropause / Male Menopause Pregnancy and Complications Sex Addiction Holistic Management for Depression Tourette Syndrome Dealing with Menopause symptoms through lifestyle changes Tired All The Time 
Recommended Reading
Andropause / Male Menopause
Andropause or male menopause causing low libido in a man is due to decreasing level of male hormones...
Dealing with Menopause symptoms through lifestyle changes
You can deal with menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, weight gain and forgetfulness by making si...
Depression
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders affecting approximately 340 million people in ...
Holistic Management for Depression
Depression is a common disorder and many worldwide suffer from depression. Early recognition of symp...
Pregnancy and Complications
In-depth guide for expecting mothers to overcome health complications related to early or late pregn...
Sex Addiction
Is sex addiction a malady that can be treated or is it only an excuse for celebrity romps?...
Tired All The Time
Tired All The Time (TATT) syndrome is not only about feeling of tired, however there are a host of o...
Tourette Syndrome
Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder wherein the affected person makes repetitive and s...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use