Tohoku J. Exp. Med., 2018 May, 245(1)

Direct and Indirect Harassment Experiences and Burnout among Academic Faculty in Japan


1Graduate School of Human Development and Environment, Kobe University, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
2Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
3Department of Public Health, Akita University Graduate School of Medicine, Akita, Akita, Japan
4Department of Hygiene and Public Health, Teikyo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan
5Teikyo University Graduate School of Public Health, Tokyo, Japan
6Teikyo University Support Center for Women Physicians and Researchers, Tokyo, Japan
7Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
8Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

The purpose of this study is three-fold: (1) to compare harassment (sexual, gender, and academic harassment both directly and indirectly experienced i.e. “directly harassed” and “have seen or heard of someone who experienced harassment”, respectively) experienced by males and females, (2) to investigate whether such experiences correlate with burnout, and (3) to explore whether social support might mitigate any such relationship between harassment and burnout. This cross-sectional study was conducted at a private university in Japan in February 2014 and is based on a work-life balance survey obtained from 330 academic faculty members. We investigated the association between each of the six subcategories of harassment (direct and indirect forms of each of the three types) and burnout using general linear regression models; we then evaluated interactions between harassment and social support in these models. The prevalence of direct and indirect experiences of harassment was higher in females than in males for all three types of harassment. Males showed higher burnout scores if they had direct experiences of harassment. There were significant interactions between social support and the direct experience of harassment; high social support mitigated the effect size of direct harassment on burnout among males. Females showed higher burnout scores if they had indirect experiences of harassment. However, the same buffering effect of social support on burnout as observed in males was not observed in females. Direct harassment experiences increased the risk of burnout in males, and indirect harassment experiences increased burnout in females.

Key words —— academic faculties; burnout; gender; harassment; social support


Tohoku J. Exp. Med., 2018, 245, 37-44

Correspondence: Kyoko Nomura, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Department of Public Health, Akita University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-1-1 Hondo, Akita, Akita 010-8543, Japan.