More Than Just Sticks and Stones: Sexual Harassment and Mental Health Among Adolescent Girls and Young Women in Egypt Before and After the Revolution

Christina Misunas , Population Council
Sophia Chae, Independent Consultant
Stephanie R. Psaki, Population Council
Thoai Ngo, Population Council

Globally, mental health disorders are the largest contributor to disability-adjusted life years among adolescents, particularly among girls. Sexual harassment is shown to contribute to poor mental health by lowering girls’ self-esteem, sense of satisfaction and security. Egypt, with its youth population having experienced massive societal changes during the Arab Spring, presents a unique context for analyzing the relationship between mental health and sexual harassment. Using data from the 2009 and 2013/14 Survey of Young People in Egypt, we explored the association between sexual harassment and mental health among females aged 15-29 in bivariate and multivariate regression analysis. Respondents experiencing sexual harassment had higher odds of poor mental health than their peers after adjusting for potential confounders. Using longitudinal data, we used fixed effects regression models to approximate a causal relationship between harassment and changes in mental health. After controlling for unobserved factors, the coefficient of sexual harassment remained highly significant.

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 Presented in Session 11. Health & Mortality 2