Poor health of female flight attendants linked to sexual harassment

December 20, 2005

Female flight attendants who have been sexually harassed by passengers are almost three times as likely to rate their health as only fair or poor, reveals research in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The health of other women working regularly with the public may be similarly jeopardised, suggest the authors.

The research team surveyed some 2000 women who had previously or currently worked as flight attendants for a national European airline between 1965 and 1995.

Compared with former employees, more of the women who currently worked in the industry rated their health as 'fair' to 'poor,' and reported psychological distress, as measured by the validated General Health Questionnaire.

Flight attendants were almost twice as likely to give a low rating to their health if their job satisfaction levels were low. But they were almost three times as likely to do so, if they had recently experienced sexual harassment by passengers.

Around one in five (22%) of those currently working in the industry said they has been sexually harassed by passengers. And almost 4 per cent said they had experienced this within the past 12 months.

Almost half of all the women surveyed said that they had also been sexually harassed by a colleague or superior. And 12 per cent said they had experienced this within the previous year; just over a third of these incidents were of the most severe type.

For the purposes of this study, sexual harassment was defined as receiving unwanted attention, being propositioned, groped, subjected to offensive remarks about personal appearance, shown sexually explicit material, and being threatened, blackmailed, or subjected to attempted non-consensual sexual acts.

Around one in 10 women still working in the industry, who said they had been sexually harassed by a colleague or superior, sustained adverse health effects as a result

Psychological distress was also associated with low job satisfaction and tension with a partner over childcare.

"The effect of sexual harassment by passengers on health of flight attendants may be relevant to other working women dealing with the public," comment the authors.

BMJ Specialty Journals

Related Health Articles from Brightsurf:

The mental health impact of pandemics for front line health care staff
New research shows the impact that pandemics have on the mental health of front-line health care staff.

Modifiable health risks linked to more than $730 billion in US health care costs
Modifiable health risks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking, were linked to over $730 billion in health care spending in the US in 2016, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health.

New measure of social determinants of health may improve cardiovascular health assessment
The authors of this study developed a single risk score derived from multiple social determinants of health that predicts county-level cardiovascular disease mortality.

BU study: High deductible health plans are widening racial health gaps
The growing Black Lives Matter movement has brought more attention to the myriad structures that reinforce racial inequities, in everything from policing to hiring to maternal mortality.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

E-health resource improves men's health behaviours with or without fitness facilities
Men who regularly used a free web resource made significantly more health changes than men who did not, finds a new study from the University of British Columbia and Intensions Consulting.

Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Mental health of health care workers in china in hospitals with patients with COVID-19
This survey study of almost 1,300 health care workers in China at 34 hospitals equipped with fever clinics or wards for patients with COVID-19 reports on their mental health outcomes, including symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia and distress.

Health records pin broad set of health risks on genetic premutation
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marshfield Clinic have found that there may be a much broader health risk to carriers of the FMR1 premutation, with potentially dozens of clinical conditions that can be ascribed directly to carrying it.

Attitudes about health affect how older adults engage with negative health news
To get older adults to pay attention to important health information, preface it with the good news about their health.

Read More: Health News and Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.