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03/07/2024 - 09:24

Sexual Harassment or Violence in the Workplace associated with Health Outcomes among Icelandic Women

Sexual Harassment or Violence in the Workplace associated with Health Outcomes among Icelandic Women - Available at University of Iceland

Findings from the extensive SAGA Cohort study show that workplace sexual violence is significantly associated with a variety of adverse health outcomes among women in Iceland, such as depression, anxiety, binge drinking, and sleep problems These findings were recently published in the international scientific journal The Lancet Public Health.

The SAGA Cohort, a large-scale research project at the University of Iceland, is one of the most comprehensive of its kind globally. Between 2018 and 2019, 30,403 women participated in the study, representing the Icelandic female population well in terms of age, residence, education, and income. Participants completed a detailed online survey that included questions about workplace sexual harassment and violence as well as questions about mental and physical health.

The study examines the associations between experiences of workplace sexual harassment and violence and health outcomes among 15,812 Icelandic women aged 18-69 years. The overall prevalence of workplace sexual violence was found to be 34%, with 26% experiencing it in a previous workplace only, 4% in the current workplace only, and 4% in both previous and current workplaces. The researchers found that experiences of workplace sexual violence were associated with a higher likelihood of experiencing depression, general anxiety, social phobia, self-harm, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, binge drinking, sleep problems, physical symptoms, and taking sick leave from work.

The researchers found that the associations between workplace harassment/violence and the above health outcomes among women varied by age. Women aged 18-24 and 45-54 were more likely than other age groups to experience sleep problems, and women aged 45-54 and 55-69 were more likely to experience physical health outcomes. Age did not have a significant impact on the associations with other health outcomes.

The researchers point out that the results highlight the importance of developing preventive measures to increase workplace safety and reduce potential health problems associated with workplace sexual harassment and violence.

The article is available online

Svava Dögg Jónsdóttir