Workplace Gender Harassment, Illegitimate Tasks, and Poor Mental Health: Hypothesized Associations in a Swedish Cohort. By Aziz Mensa, Susanna Toivanen, Martin Diewald, MahmoodUl Hassan and Anna Nyberg. 2022. Social Science and Medicine V 314

Workers exposed to gender harassment and illegitimate tasks may experience adverse mental health outcomes such as depression and burnout. However, the longitudinal effects and the complex interrelationships between these variables remain largely unexplored. We investigated the cross-lagged relationships between gender harassment, illegitimate tasks, and mental health outcomes among working adults in Sweden over a period of two years, as well as the gender differences in the cross-lagged effects. Additionally, the study examined whether illegitimate tasks mediated the relationship between gender harassment and negative mental health outcomes over time. Data were drawn from the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (SLOSH), covering 2796 working men and 4110 working women in a two-wave analysis from 2018 to 2020. We employed a structural equation model to examine the cross-lagged effects and the mediating effect between gender harassment, illegitimate tasks, and mental health outcomes over time. Furthermore, we applied a multigroup analysis to determine gender differences in the cross-lagged effects. The results showed statistically significant cross-lagged relationships (forward, reverse, and reciprocal) between gender harassment, illegitimate tasks, and mental ill-health. There were statistically significant gender differences in these cross-lagged relationships (burnout: χ2(47)=106.21, p < 0.01; depression: χ2(47)=80.5, p < 0.01). Initial illegitimate tasks mediated the relationship between gender harassment and mental ill-health outcomes over time. The gender differences in the interrelationships between gender harassment, illegitimate tasks, and mental ill-health outcomes among workers in Sweden indicate that policies, regulations, and interventions that address these exposures in organisations must be tailored to benefit both men and women.