The purpose of this study was to characterize sexual harassment in public, or ‘eve teasing’, in rural India, develop a measurement tool, and to estimate its prevalence and association with common mental disorders (CMD) and suicide ideation (SI) among young women. Mixed methods included focus group discussions, direct observation of questionnaire administration, and both qualitative and quantitative data gathering with a novel questionnaire. Females ages 14–26 were recruited through purposive sampling in nine villages for the initial pretest (N=89). Using the finalized questionnaire, we conducted a cross-sectional survey using a randomized cluster sample of 19 villages and recruited 198 women ages 15-24 using house-to-house probability sampling. Eve teasing was described as staring, stalking, passing comments, or inappropriate physical touch. Most participants perceived significant negative consequences, including tight restrictions on girls’ mobility, inability to attend school or work, girl’s being blamed, and causing family problems. Among those who reported eve teasing victimization, psycho-social responses included feelings of fear (88%), anger (78%), and shame (68%) (N=59). The internal reliability of the questionnaire was high for key measures (Cronbach’s alpha: .65 to .84) and principal components analysis suggested two underlying constructs in the eve teasing instrument. Nearly 30% of participants reported ever having been eve teased, 21% screened positive for a CMD, and 27% reported recent suicide ideation (N=198). In multivariate analyses, spending more than 1 hour in public daily was associated with reported eve teasing (OR: 3.1 (CI: 1.26-7.49) p=0.016). The odds of screening positive for CMD were significantly higher if eve teased, but only among participants who reported adverse childhood events (ACEs) (OR: 4.5 (CI: 1.18-11.43) p=0.003). Eve teasing was significantly associated with SI among participants who reported ACEs when CMD were included in the model (OR: 3.1 (CI: 1.119-8.472) p=0.032). This is the first study, to our knowledge, to assess the association between eve teasing victimization and mental health outcomes in a community setting. We found that eve teasing may negatively impact the mental health of young women, especially victims of child abuse, and offer a reliable and valid questionnaire for future research.
|Advisor:||Alder, Stephen C.|
|Commitee:||Bhattacharya, Haimanti, Gren, Lisa, Kaur, Manmeet, VanDerslice, James|
|School:||The University of Utah|
|Department:||Family and Preventive Medicine|
|School Location:||United States -- Utah|
|Source:||DAI-B 77/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Mental health, Public health, Epidemiology, South Asian Studies|
|Keywords:||Common mental disorders, Eve teasing, India, Sexual harassment, Suicide ideation|
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