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J Trauma Dissociation. 2014;15(2):133-52. doi: 10.1080/15299732.2014.867563.

Victims' psychosocial well-being after reporting sexual harassment in the military.

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1
a National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, VA Boston Healthcare System , Boston , Massachusetts , USA.

Abstract

Given the importance of reporting to sexual harassment prevention and intervention efforts, it is not surprising that an extensive scientific literature has developed on predictors of victims' decisions about making a formal report to authorities about their experiences. In contrast, little empirical work has focused on how reporting affects victims, particularly their psychosocial well-being. This study used a national sample of 1,562 former military Reservists who had experienced sexual harassment during their service to examine the relationship between reporting; experiences reporting; and psychosocial well-being, as indicated by post-harassment functioning, worst symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following the harassment, and current symptoms of depression. Making a formal report was not associated with well-being, but among those who did report, perceiving that the report had resulted in the harassment being addressed by authorities was associated with better post-harassment functioning and fewer symptoms of PTSD. Satisfaction with the reporting process showed the strongest association with well-being, demonstrating small but meaningful associations with depression and medium-to-large and medium associations with post-harassment functioning and PTSD, respectively. Although findings did not vary by gender, predictors accounted for more variance in well-being for men than women. In the whole sample, satisfaction with the reporting process mediated the relationship between victims' perceptions of system responsiveness to the report and post-harassment functioning and PTSD. Findings suggest that a victim's perceptions of and satisfaction with the reporting process may impact well-being more strongly than whether the victim made a report to authorities. Men may be even more strongly impacted by their experiences with the reporting process than women.

PMID:
24410254
DOI:
10.1080/15299732.2014.867563
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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