The scientific study of the sexual dynamics that come into play during residency training seems to both fascinate and repel trainees and their supervisors. One of the more provocative and shameful dimensions of this area of inquiry, the abuse of residents, causes a good deal of distress. How do we respond to findings of significant psychological abuse, discrimination on the basis of sex or sexual orientation and sexual harassment in medical settings? How can we ignore over a decade of research? How can we not heed the experience of so many young physicians? Given the uncertain times in Canadian medicine and the insecurity in our professional and personal lives, we must work together to improve the culture of our teaching institutions and implement measures nationally and locally to close this dark chapter.
The aim of this study was to identify workplace physical and psychosocial risk factors for neck pain among male and female workers and, in particular, to study the relationship between neck pain and intimidation and sexual harassment in the workplace in a representative sample of the Quebec working population. The study sample included 5405 men and 3987 women. In multiple logistic regression analyses, when taking into account individual and other workplace factors, neck pain was significantly associated with intimidation at work among both male (odds ratio (OR) 1.4 (1.01-1.8)) and female workers (OR 1.3 (1.01-1.8)). Among female workers, neck pain was alsosignificantly associated with unwanted sexual attention (OR 1.6 (1.1-2.4)). If confirmed in prospective studies, these results suggest that interventions to prevent harassment in the workplace may help reduce musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace and that workplace programmes to reduce harassment in the workplace should include prevention of sexual harassment.
While taking into account relevant personal factors and previously identified workplace physical and psychosocial risk factors, this gender-based study identifies new work exposures associated with neck pain that have not previously been studied, including unwanted sexual attention, intimidation and difficult or tense situations with the public.
The authors developed and tested a structural model predicting personal and organizational consequences of workplace violence and sexual harassment for health care professionals who work inside their client's home. The model suggests that workplace violence and sexual harassment predict fear of their recurrence in the workplace, which in turn predicts negative mood (anxiety and anger) and perceptions of injustice. In turn, fear, negative mood, and perceived injustice predict lower affective commitment and enhanced withdrawal intentions, poor interpersonal job performance, greater neglect, and cognitive difficulties. The results supported the model and showed that the associations of workplace violence and sexual harassment with organizational and personal outcomes are indirect, mediated by fear and negative mood. Conceptual implications for understanding sexual harassment and workplace violence, and future research directions, are suggested.