Individual and psychosocial study environment characteristics associated with exposure to sexual harassment at a large public university in Sweden

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Background and Objective: Universities can be understood as work-like environments for students. Limited research has examined this study environment from a Demand-Control-Support perspective with regards to sexual harassment. Understanding this environment is key to designing preventative measures. This study therefore aimed to examine the association between individual and psychosocial study environment characteristics and exposure to sexual harassment among students at Lund University, Sweden. Methods: This cross-sectional study utilised survey data from an online survey conducted among university students (N=8960). Questions on background characteristics, exposure to sexual harassment while at university and psychosocial study environment as measured by a Demand-Control-Support-instrument were used. Descriptive analysis, bivariate, and multivariable logistic regressions were used to examine the association between individual and study environment characteristics and exposure to sexual harassment. Population Attributable Fractions (PAF) were calculated and synergy indexes (SI) used to examine the interaction between demands and control and potential buffering effects of support. Results: High demands and low control were independently associated with higher odds of being exposed to sexual harassment among both females and males. When controlling for background characteristics, high study strain (combination of high demands and low control) was associated with exposure to sexual harassment among both female and male respondents and accounted for a PAF of 14% and 15% of study environment sexual harassment for females and males, respectively. Low lecturer support was associated with higher odds for sexual harassment for females but not males. No evidence was found for a buffering effect of support on high strain and sexual harassment. Conclusions: Reducing high psychosocial strain in study environments could be an effective strategy for reducing sexual harassment in university settings. Improving support from lecturers could also modify this relationship, but more research is required to identify causal pathways for this results.

Originalspråkengelska
ArtikelnummerA1724
TidskriftPopulation Medicine
Volym5
DOI
StatusPublished - 2023

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Folkhälsovetenskap, global hälsa, socialmedicin och epidemiologi

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