About 46 percent of female supervisors and 33 percent of women who didn't supervise others had experienced sexual harassment. According to one statistical model, women who supervised others were 137 percent more likely to be harassed, the researchers said.
Non-immigrants were also 2.8 times more likely to be sexually harassed than those born outside the United States, the study authors noted.
Participants worked in a variety of professions, including professional, technical and service industries.
"We found this paradox," McLaughlin said. "You would expect supervisory status to protect women from harassment, like inappropriate touching or a sexual gaze from others, but in our study women supervisors were more likely to be harassed."
Supervisors and effeminate men were also at greater risk of experiencing more severe or multiple forms of sexual harassment. Men and women who reported being labeled as non-heterosexual by others or who self-identified as being gay, lesbian, bisexual or unsure were nearly twice as likely to experience harassment.
Men were most often the perpetrators, both against women and against other males. While holding a managerial position increased the likelihood of harassment for women, it did not increase a man's risk.
"Men are using harassment as a workplace equalizer, to strip women in these positions of their power, prestige in the workplace," McLaughlin said. "Harassment isn't about sexual desire or wanting to establish a romantic relationship, but more about control and domination."
Sexual harassment can have severe health effects, including anxiety and depression.
Vincent Roscigno, a professor of sociology at Ohio State University, called the study "cutting-edge."
"They couple rigorous statist
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