Sexual harassment and posttraumatic stress disorder: Damages beyond prior abuse

Margaret S. Stockdale, T. K. Logan, Rebecca Weston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


This study examined the extent to which harassment experiences correlate with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and whether diagnosable PTSD on the basis of sexual harassment occurs after accounting for prior PTSD, prior sexual abuse, and prior psychological dysfunction. The sample consisted of a two-wave panel of 445 women who had received a domestic violence protective order from a Kentucky court. Hierarchical linear and logistic analyses confirmed that sexual harassment experiences were significantly correlated with PTSD symptoms after controlling for an extensive set of trauma variables measured in both the baseline and follow up interviews. Our findings lend further evidence that claims of PTSD from sexual harassment may be credible even if claimants have been victims of other forms of trauma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-418
Number of pages14
JournalLaw and Human Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This research was supported by grant # AA12735 and the University of Kentucky General Clinical Research Organization funded by the National Institute of Health grant # M01RR02602. We thank Barbara Gutek and Ben Rodriguez for helpful comments on this manuscript and to Seth Berry for editorial assistance. We are also indebted to our research participants who took considerable time to share their lives with us.


  • Damages
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Sexual harassment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law


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