Harassment in the headache field: a global web-based cross-sectional survey

de Boer I., Ambrosini A., Halker Singh R. B., BAYKAL B., Buse D. C., Tassorelli C., ...More

Cephalalgia : an international journal of headache, vol.43, no.8, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 43 Issue: 8
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/03331024231193099
  • Journal Name: Cephalalgia : an international journal of headache
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Keywords: Disparities, gender, inequalities, nationality, sexual harassment, workplace
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


BACKGROUND: Matters of workplace harassment are an important issue. This issue needs to be recognized and studied to prevent occurrences. These important sensitive areas of effective workplace management are increasingly gaining more interest. We aimed to identify the prevalence of workplace sexual, verbal and physical harassment among headache professionals. METHODS: We adopted a cross‑sectional exploratory survey approach with quantitative design. The survey was distributed electronically among headache healthcare and research professionals globally through the International Headache Society (IHS). RESULTS: Data were obtained from 579 respondents (55.3%; 320/579 women). A large percentage of respondents (46.6%; 270/579) had experienced harassment; specifically, 16.1% (93/578) reported sexual harassment, 40.4% (234/579) verbal harassment and 5.5% (32/579) physical harassment. Women were almost seven times more likely to experience sexual harassment compared to men (odds ratio = 6.8; 95% confidence interval = 3.5-13.2). Although women did also more frequently report other types of harassment, this was not statistically significant (odds ratio = 1.4; 95% confidence interval = 1.0-2.0). CONCLUSIONS: Lifetime exposure to workplace harassment is prevalent among headache professionals, especially in women. The present study uncovers a widespread issue and calls for strategies to be implemented for building a healthy and safe workplace environment.