Revisiting the comparative outcomes of workplace aggression and sexual harassment

J Occup Health Psychol. 2012 Oct;17(4):398-408. doi: 10.1037/a0029883.

Abstract

We focus on the differential outcomes associated with experiencing workplace aggression and sexual harassment by a supervisor. To do so, we identify and empirically address several issues within current workplace aggression and sexual harassment research, including the need to (a) conceptualize their multidimensional nature, (b) contrast comparable dimensions between the two, (c) recognize and control for covictimization, and (d) consider the role of target gender. Data were analyzed using multiple regression and dominance analyses on a sample of 467 employed women (M age = 40 years). Results showed that all forms of sexual harassment were more strongly associated with work withdrawal and psychological well-being than comparable forms of workplace aggression. Nonphysical workplace aggression accounted for more of the variance in attitudinal outcomes (job, coworker and supervisor satisfaction, intent to quit, commitment) than nonphysical sexual harassment. Sexual harassment accounted for more of the variance than workplace aggression in all outcomes when the harassment and aggression involved some form of threatened or actual physical contact. Conceptual and methodological issues are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Canada
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self Report
  • Sexual Harassment / psychology*
  • Young Adult