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Article

Sexual Harassment by Patients, Clients, and Residents: Investigating Its Prevalence, Frequency and Associations with Impaired Well-Being among Social and Healthcare Workers in Germany

1
Department of Occupational Medicine, Hazardous Substances and Public Health, German Social Accident Insurance Institution for Health and Welfare Services, 22089 Hamburg, Germany
2
Department of Work and Organizational Psychology, University of Hamburg, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
3
Institute for Health Services Research in Dermatology and Nursing, University Clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf, 20246 Hamburg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Nicola Magnavita and Daniela Acquadro Maran
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(10), 5198; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105198
Received: 31 March 2021 / Revised: 5 May 2021 / Accepted: 10 May 2021 / Published: 13 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Workplace Violence in Healthcare Sector)
Social and healthcare workers are at high risk of experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace. Although sexual harassment is detrimental to people’s well-being, only a few studies have systematically investigated social and healthcare workers’ experiences of different forms of sexually harassing behaviors by patients, clients, and residents in Germany. This study aimed to address this gap by determining the prevalence rates and frequency of nonverbal, verbal, and physical sexual harassment by patients, clients, and residents against social and healthcare workers. In addition, we examined the associations of sexual harassment with workers’ well-being and described employees’ awareness of offers of organizational support for sexual harassment prevention and aftercare. Data were collected from n = 901 employees working in a total of 61 facilities, including inpatient and outpatient care, psychiatric facilities, hospitals, and facilities for persons with disabilities. While the prevalence, frequency, and predominant forms of sexual harassment differed across sectors, the results indicated that nonverbal, verbal and physical sexual harassment were highly prevalent in social and healthcare work, with both men and women being affected. Furthermore, we found that sexual harassment was positively related to impaired well-being (e.g., depressiveness and psychosomatic complaints). In terms of support offers for sexual harassment prevention and aftercare, we found that approximately one-third of social and healthcare workers were not aware of any offers at their facilities. In addition to highlighting the problem of sexual harassment by patients, clients, and residents in social and healthcare settings, this study provides recommendations for the development of interventions and suggests several avenues for future research. View Full-Text
Keywords: healthcare; social services; sexual harassment; well-being; prevention and aftercare healthcare; social services; sexual harassment; well-being; prevention and aftercare
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MDPI and ACS Style

Adler, M.; Vincent-Höper, S.; Vaupel, C.; Gregersen, S.; Schablon, A.; Nienhaus, A. Sexual Harassment by Patients, Clients, and Residents: Investigating Its Prevalence, Frequency and Associations with Impaired Well-Being among Social and Healthcare Workers in Germany. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 5198. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105198

AMA Style

Adler M, Vincent-Höper S, Vaupel C, Gregersen S, Schablon A, Nienhaus A. Sexual Harassment by Patients, Clients, and Residents: Investigating Its Prevalence, Frequency and Associations with Impaired Well-Being among Social and Healthcare Workers in Germany. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(10):5198. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105198

Chicago/Turabian Style

Adler, Mareike, Sylvie Vincent-Höper, Claudia Vaupel, Sabine Gregersen, Anja Schablon, and Albert Nienhaus. 2021. "Sexual Harassment by Patients, Clients, and Residents: Investigating Its Prevalence, Frequency and Associations with Impaired Well-Being among Social and Healthcare Workers in Germany" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 10: 5198. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105198

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