Effect of adult’s workplace harassment on child’s odds of mental health problem

Sze Yan Liu, Ichiro Kawachi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Workplace harassment is associated with harmful health outcomes for the victim. However, there is limited research on whether an individual’s experience of workplace harassment affects the health of his/her household members. This study examines the association between an adult’s recent experience of workplace harassment and the child in the household having a probable mental health problem. Our analytical sample consisted of 10,586 children 4–17 years of age from the National Health Interview Survey 2010 and 2015 waves, the only two waves where experiences of workplace harassment were assessed in a nationally representative survey in the US. We used multivariable logistic regression to model the association between adult-reported experiences of workplace harassment in the past 12 months and the outcome of a child in the family having a probable mental health problem. We found that adult work harassment was associated with increased odds of a child in the household having a mental health problem (aOR = 1.48, 95% CI = 1.24, 1.76) after adjusting for potential confounders. Our calculated E-values indicate that an unmeasured confounder would need to be associated with an almost 2-fold increase in the likelihood of experiencing workplace harassment and having a child with a mental health problem to account for our finding. These results highlight the need for further research on how workplace harassment extends its reach beyond the immediate victims.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8988-8996
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Psychology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Children
  • Family
  • Mental health
  • Workplace harassment


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