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Any Type of Sexual Harassment Can Cause Psychological Harm, Study Says

From TIME - November 9, 2017

Any form of sexual harassment, whether verbal or physical, has the power to cause psychological harm, according to a new study.

The research, which was published Thursday in the International Journal of Public Health and comes at a time when sexual misconduct is under increasing public scrutiny, finds that non-physical sexual harassmentsuch as derogatory comments, unwanted sexual attention and unsolicited explicit imagescan take a psychological toll, potentially exacerbating symptoms of anxiety, depression, negative body image and low self-esteem.

Its original because people usually dont consider the effects of non-physical harassment without a certain amount of physical harassment, says Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair, a professor of psychology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and one of the studys authors. Even when you control for [physical coercion and force], you still find an effect on mental symptoms due to non-physical harassment.

Kennair and his colleagues collected data from two groups of Norwegian high school students, totaling almost 3,000 in all. The students were asked to respond to surveys about their experiences with sexual harassment over the past year, as well as their mental well-being. The first group was polled in 2007, while the second took surveys from 2013 to 2014.

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