Discrimination, Harassment, and Gendered Health Inequalities: Do Perceptions of Workplace Mistreatment Contribute to the Gender Gap in Self-reported Health?

Sophie Bierly

First Published April 2, 2018

Abstract: This study examines the extent to which discrimination and harassment contribute to gendered health disparities. Analyzing data from the 2006, 2010, and 2014 General Social Surveys (N = 3,724), we ask the following: (1) To what extent are perceptions of workplace gender discrimination and sexual harassment associated with self-reported mental and physical health? (2) How do multiple forms of workplace mistreatment (e.g., racism, ageism, and sexism) combine to structure workers’ self-assessed health? and (3) To what extent do perceptions of mistreatment contribute to the gender gap in self-assessed health? Multivariate analyses show that among women, but not men, perceptions of workplace gender discrimination are negatively associated with poor mental health, and perceptions of sexual harassment are associated with poor physical health. Among men and women, perceptions of multiple forms of mistreatment are associated with worse mental health. Gender discrimination partially explains the gender gap in self-reported mental health.