Workplace Harassment and Morbidity Among US Adults: Results from the National Health Interview Survey


Most research on workplace harassment originates from European countries.Prevalence of workplace harassment and associated morbidity has not been well studied in the United States. The purpose of this study was to assess in a sample of US workers the prevalence of workplace harassment and the psychological and physical health consequences of workplace harassment. The 2010 National Health Interview Survey data were analyzed in 2014 for this study. We computed the prevalence of workplace harassment, assessed the demographic and background characteristics of victims of harassment, and tested the association between harassment and selected health risk factors by using logistic regression analysis. Statistical significance was established as p < 0.01. A total of 17,524 adults were included in our study (51.5 % females and 74.9 % Whites). A little <1 in 10 (8.1 %) reported being harassed in the workplace in the past 12 months. The odds of harassment were significantly higher for females (OR 1.47, p < 0.001),multiracial individuals (OR 2.30, p < 0.001), and divorced or separated individuals (OR 1.88, p < 0.001). Victims of harassment were significantly more likely to: be obese, sleep less, and smoke more. In addition, harassment was associated with psychosocial distress, pain disorders, work loss, bed days, and worsening health of employees in the past 12 months. Analysis was stratified by gender and distinct health risk patterns for men and women victims were observed. Workplace harassment in the US is associated with significant health risk factors and morbidity. Workplace policies and protocols can play a significant role in reducing harassment and the associated negative health outcomes.

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Khubchandani, J., Price, J.H. Workplace Harassment and Morbidity Among US Adults: Results from the National Health Interview Survey. J Community Health 40, 555–563 (2015).

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  • Violence
  • Workplace harassment
  • Bullying
  • Occupational health