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One in four female internal medicine residents experience sexual harassment

One in four female internal medicine residents experience sexual harassment

One in four female internal medicine residents report experiencing sexual harassment, according to a research letter published online Jan. 17 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Elizabeth M. Viglianti, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues measured the types of sexual harassment experienced by internal medicine residents, as well as knowledge of reporting mechanisms, reporting intentions and actions, and satisfaction with reporting outcomes. The analysis included survey results from 22,277 participants in the American College of Physicians 2021 Internal Medicine In-Training Examination (Aug. 19 to Sept. 15, 2021).

The researchers found that sexual harassment was self-reported by 12.8 percent of residents (24.8 percent of women versus 3.2 percent of men). Sexual harassment was reported by 7.6 percent of postgraduate year (PGY) 1, 15.0 percent of PGY 2, and 16.1 percent of PGY 3 residents. Nearly six in 10 of those who experienced sexual harassment (59.6 percent) had knowledge of the formal reporting systems and indicated they would report an event (women, 60.6 percent; men, 53.6 percent). However, when asked to reflect on their most impactful experience, 62.0 percent of residents (women, 61.3 percent; men, 66.8 percent) did not report the event. Of those residents who did report sexual harassment, 20.1 percent reported to residency leadership and 47.6 percent were satisfied with the reporting outcome.

“These findings highlight the need for meaningful action on reports of sexual harassment and mistreatment to create a safer workplace for residents,” the authors write.

More information:
Elizabeth M. Viglianti et al, Self-reported Sexual Harassment and Subsequent Reporting Among Internal Medicine Residency Trainees in the US, JAMA Internal Medicine (2023). DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2022.6108

Journal information:
JAMA Internal Medicine

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