Experiences of Sexual Harassment: Interplay of Working Environment, Depression and Self-Esteem in Pakistani Women

Article Title: Experiences of Sexual Harassment: Interplay of Working Environment, Depression and Self-Esteem in Pakistani Women

Author(s): Amina Muazzam, Faiza Qayyum and Jessica Cheng

Institute(s): Department of Psychology; Lahore College for Women University; University of Pittsburgh, USA

Journal: Pakistan Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 2016, Vol. 14, No.1, 42-46

Correspondence Address: Amina Muazzam, Department of Psychology, Lahore College for Womens University, Lahore, Pakistan; e-mail: amina_muazzam@hotmail.com

Abstract

Sexual harassment is a barrier to proper integration of women into the labor market. Forms of sexual harassment can be simple: starring, making sexual comments, trying to touch a woman’s body without permission or invitation, and demanding sexual intercourse. A study using cross sectional design was conducted to investigate if there is a link between sexual harassment and work place environment and whether depression, anxiety, stress, and self-esteem are correlated with sexual harassment. The study was carried out at four different types of workplaces in Lahore, Pakistan. Workers from banks, hospitals, factories and departmental stores were included in the study. A sample of 300 working women, age 18-55 years old were selected for data collection from workplaces via purposive sampling technique. Data were collected using the Sexual Harassment Experience Scale (SHEQ), Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-21), Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE), and items from the Assessment Inventory of Working Environment (AIWE). Results revealed that sexual harassment is positively correlated with depression, anxiety, stress and low self-esteem. The organizational system can play vital role in minimizing sexual harassment at workplace by fostering an environment in which colleagues are busy with work and other interactions are unlikely to occur. Implications of the work are working women living healthier lives free of fear and maintaining their employment status.

Keywords: Sexual harassment, workplace, organizational behavior, women

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