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J Interpers Violence. 2009 May;24(5):819-43. doi: 10.1177/0886260508317182. Epub 2008 May 7.

Prevalence and mental health correlates of harassment and discrimination in the workplace: results from a national study.

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  • 1University of Illinois at Chicago, USA.


This study describes past-year prevalence and effects on mental health and drinking outcomes for harassment and discrimination in the workplace (HDW) in a nationally representative random digit dial phone survey conducted in 2003-2004 (n = 2,151). HDW measures included experiences and perceptions of sexual harassment (SH) and generalized workplace harassment (GWH), and perceived harassment or discrimination because of race or ethnicity. Prevalence was examined by sex, race, age, occupation, marital status, and education. Effects of HDW were assessed controlling for demo-graphics and job and life stressors. Experiencing multiple types of HDW was common. SH was more prevalent among women, and Blacks and those of other or mixed race or ethnicity experienced the highest levels of HDW overall. HDW variables explained additional variance in problem drinking and mental health beyond life and job stressors, particularly for women. This study demonstrates that HDW is a prevalent problem associated with poor mental health and problem drinking in the U.S. workforce.

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