American Journal of Public Health Research
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American Journal of Public Health Research. 2019, 7(2), 41-47
DOI: 10.12691/ajphr-7-2-2
Open AccessArticle

Association between Male Customer Sexual Harassment and Depressive Symptoms among Female Bar Workers in Yaounde, Cameroon: A Cross-sectional Study

Derick Akompab Akoku1, 2, , Mbah Abena Tihnje1, 3, Thomas A. Vukugah1, 4, Elvis Enowbeyang Tarkang5 and Robinson Enow Mbu6, 7

1Community Research and Training Institute, Yaounde, Cameroon

2Health Alliance International, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

3Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services, HIV Free Survival Project, Yaounde, Cameroon

4Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Yaounde, Cameroon

5School of Public Health, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho, Ghana

6Ministry of Public Health, Yaounde, Cameroon

7Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaounde 1, Yaounde, Cameroon

Pub. Date: March 21, 2019

Cite this paper:
Derick Akompab Akoku, Mbah Abena Tihnje, Thomas A. Vukugah, Elvis Enowbeyang Tarkang and Robinson Enow Mbu. Association between Male Customer Sexual Harassment and Depressive Symptoms among Female Bar Workers in Yaounde, Cameroon: A Cross-sectional Study. American Journal of Public Health Research. 2019; 7(2):41-47. doi: 10.12691/ajphr-7-2-2


Background: The primary objectives of this study were to estimate the prevalence and identify the common forms of sexual harassment perpetuated by male customers against female bar workers, and investigate their association with depressive symptoms. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from May to June 2017 using venue-based cluster sampling technique from a representative sample of 410 female bar workers in Yaounde, Cameroon. Depression was measured using the 5-item Mental Health Inventory (MHI-5) scale. Respondents were read a definition of what constitutes sexual harassment and asked if they had experienced one or more such behaviours from their male customers in the past 3 months. Weighted logistic regression analysis was used to examine the relationship between male customer sexual harassment and depressive symptoms. The level of statistical significance was set at p-value ≤0.05. Results: The median age of the 410 female bar workers who participated in the study was 29 years (IQR=25-34). About 41.5% (n=170) were found to have developed depressive symptoms in the past 4 weeks. The majority (98.8%) of respondents had experienced one or more forms of sexual harassment from their male customers in the past 3 months. The most common form of sexual harassment experienced was sexual advances from male customers including requesting the telephone numbers of female bar workers for them to be contacted later for a date (90.9%). After adjustment for potential confounders, respondents who experienced inappropriate starring from their male customers that made them felt uncomfortable (AOR=3.08; 95% CI, 1.90-5.01) and those who received repeated demands for a date from male customers despite their rejection (AOR=1.61; 95% CI, 1.04-2.49) were significantly more likely to have developed depressive symptoms in the past 4 weeks prior to the study. Conclusions: Male customer sexual harassment was very prevalent in this study and was associated with depressive symptoms. There is a need for interventions to reduce sexual harassment perpetuated by male customers against this group of women. It is also essential for the establishment of community-based services for the diagnosis and treatment of depressive symptoms among these women and other vulnerable population.

depression sexual harassment female bar workers male customers

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