ERIC Number: ED245130
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Was She Really Sexually Harassed? The Effects of a Victim's Age and the Job Status of the Initiator.
Sherman, Martin F.; Smith, Robert J.
With the increased number of women in the work force, sexual harassment is receiving increased attention from the federal government, journalists, researchers, and counselors. To investigate the influence of two contextual variables (status of the initiator and age of the victim) on perceptions of sexual harassment allegations, 123 college students (69 males, 54 females) read three case studies of alleged sexual harassment, manipulated for the two variables. After reading the vignettes, subjects responded to Likert-type items on belief, certainty, and responsibility, and a group of items assessing general attitudes towards sexual harassment and the importance of the age and physical attractiveness of the victim. An analysis of the results showed that greater credibility was given to the claims of a young victim when the initiator was her supervisor as compared to her co-worker. When the victim was middle aged or old no differences in perceptions of credibility existed between the two status conditions. Sex difference emerged, indicating that compared to males, females attributed less responsibility to the victim and were more likely to believe that the victim had been sexually harassed. The findings provide additional evidence of the importance of contextual variables in influencing perceptions of social-sexual encounters. (BL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association (Philadelphia, PA, April 6-9, 1983).