Women Firefighters and Workplace Harassment: Associated Suicidality and Mental Health Sequelae

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Abstract

This cross-sectional study investigated the association between harassment, career suicidality, and psychiatric symptoms among women firefighters. Women firefighters (n = 290) completed self-report measures of experiences with harassment on the job, career suicidality, and various psychiatric symptoms. Logistic regression analyses and one-way analyses of variance were used to address study aims. Of the sample, 21.7% reported having experienced sexual harassment and 20.3% reported having been threatened or harassed in another way on their firefighting job. Sexual harassment and other threats/harassment on the job were both significantly associated with a greater likelihood of reporting career suicidal ideation, as well as reporting more severe psychiatric symptoms. Harassment and threats experienced on the job may be associated with increased suicide risk and more severe psychiatric symptoms among women firefighters. Efforts are needed to reduce the occurrence of harassment and threats within the fire service and provide support for women firefighters who have been harassed or threatened.

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