This study examined associations between past interpersonal victimization (including both child and adult victimization) and sexual harassment (SH); and it examined intervening and moderating variables of the association of past victimization with SH, including posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) and job-gender context. In addition, we examined an alternative hypothesis for revictimization that abuse survivors are hyper-sensitive to perceptions of sexual harassment. Employed women residing in Kentucky (U.S.) who had received an order of protection from a male partner and who were followed-up 12 months later (n = 445, 78 % White, mean age = 31.98, SD = 8.60) were selected for this analysis. SH experienced between baseline and follow-up interviews was associated with baseline assessments of child nonsexual assault experiences (r = 0.24, p < 0.001) and intimate partner violence victimization (r = 0.20, p < 0.000), demonstrating a revictimization effect. PTSS mediated the relationship between child sexual assault, child nonsexual assault and subsequent SH. Further, working in a job with a male supervisor or in a male-dominated workgroup increased associations between child nonsexual abuse and subsequent SH. No support was found for the hyper-sensitivity hypothesis. Findings are consistent with prior research that identifies sexual harassment as a form of interpersonal violence that mental health and victim service providers and researchers should include in their assessment and treatment strategies. Employers should also understand that working in male-dominated work environments compound the risk of sexual harassment for those with prior abuse histories and should be vigilant to reducing these risks.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 7, 2014
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