The Prevalence of Sexual Harassment Among Female Family Practice Residents in the United States

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The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of sexual harassment as defined by the AMA among female family practice residents in the United States. Of all 1,802 U.S. FP female resident physicians surveyed, a total of 916, or 51%, completed a survey of which 32% reported unwanted sexual advances, 48% reported use of sexist teaching material, 66% reported favortism based on gender, 36% reported poor evaluation based on gender, 37% reported malicious gossip, 5.3% reported punitive measures based on gender, and 2.2% reported sexual assault during residency. Thirty two percent of respondents reporting sexual harassment experienced negative effects including poor self-esteem, depression, psychological sequelae requiring therapy, and in some cases, transferring training programs. Sexual harassment is a common occurrence among family practice residents during residency training. Further studies are needed to examine the effect of sexual harassment policies instituted by the American Graduate Council on Medical Education on the prevalence of sexual harassment in medical training since the time of this study.

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