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Female Flight Attendants Report Fair to Poor Health

Many in Italian study have experienced sexual harassment from co-workers or passengers

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Female flight attendants have high levels of psychological distress, with many experiencing sexual harassment from passengers or co-workers, Italian researchers report in the January issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Terri J. Ballard, Ph.D., of the Istituto Superiore di Sanita in Rome, and colleagues surveyed 1,955 former and current flight attendants at Italy's national airline by mail regarding their physical and mental health.

The study found that 81.3% of current flight attendants and 89% of former flight attendants said they liked their work. However, 52.7% of current flight attendants reported sexual harassment from a superior or colleague during their career, and 22.5% reported sexual harassment from passengers, compared with 48% and 21.8%, respectively, for former flight attendants.

Significantly more current flight attendants than former flight attendants said their health was fair to poor, 47% compared with 40.6%. And significantly more current than former flight attendants reported high levels of psychological distress, 17.2% compared with 12.7%.

"More knowledge is needed about the effect of low job satisfaction, family issues pertaining to childcare and sexual harassment by clients on health and job productivity, both for this occupational category and for other working women," the authors conclude.

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