Examining Risk of Workplace Violence in Canada: A Sex/Gender-Based Analysis

Stephanie Lanthier, Amber Bielecky, Peter M. Smith

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26 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives Workplace violence (WPV) is a serious issue, resulting in significant negative health outcomes. Understanding sex/gender differences in risk of WPV has important implications for primary prevention activities. Methods Utilizing two waves of the Canadian General Social Survey on Victimization (N = 27,643), we examined the likelihood of WPV, and sub-categories of WPV, for women relative to men. Using a sex/gender analytical approach, a series of logistic regression models examined how the associations between being a woman and each of the outcomes changed upon adjustment for work and socio-demographic characteristics. Results After adjustment for work hours, women were at more than twice the risk of WPV compared to men (odds ratio = 2.12, 95% confidence interval 1.52-2.95). Adjustment for work characteristics attenuated, but did not eliminate this risk. Differences in associations were observed across sub-categories of violence, with adjustment for work characteristics attenuating sex/gender differences in physical WPV, but having minimal impact on sex/gender differences in sexual WPV. Conclusions Work characteristics explain a substantial proportion of the sex/gender differences in risk of physical WPV. However, even after adjustment for work characteristics, women still showed an elevated risk relative to men for almost all types of violence (as defined by nature of the violence, sex of the perpetrator, and relationship to the perpetrator) examined in this study. Future investigations should examine why these differences between women and men remain, even within similar occupational contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1012-1020
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Work Exposures and Health
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • Canada
  • epidemiology
  • gender
  • health
  • physical assault
  • population-based study
  • sex
  • sexual assault
  • work characteristics
  • workplace violence

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