Not-So-Friendly Skies Harming Flight Attendants' Health

Sexual harassment from passengers affects a worker's well-being, study finds

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THURSDAY, Dec. 22, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Sexual harassment from passengers may help explain the poor health seen among female flight attendants, a new study suggests.

A similar association may also exist among other women who work with the public, the study authors added.

Researchers at the Instituto Superiore di Sanita in Rome found that currently working female flight attendants who've been sexually harassed by passengers were nearly three times more likely to rate their health as only fair to poor, compared with former flight attendants.

Reprting in the current issue of the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the Italian team surveyed about 2,000 women who currently or previously worked for a national European airline.

The survey revealed that 22 percent of the flight attendants currently working had been sexually harassed by passengers, and four percent said they had experienced the problem within the previous year.

Nearly half of all the women surveyed said they had been sexually harassed by a colleague or superior and 12 percent said they had experienced this within the previous 12 months.

The study authors defined sexual harassment as receiving unwanted attention, being propositioned, groped, subjected to offensive remarks about personal appearance, shown sexually explicit material, and being threatened, blackmailed, or subjected to attempted non-consensual sexual acts.

More information

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has more about sexual harassment.

SOURCE: BMJ Specialist Journals, news release, Dec. 21, 2005

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