P1: FUG/GGN P2: GCP/GAY QC:
Sex Roles [sers] PP229-343641 August 23, 2001 9:12 Style ﬁle version Nov. 19th, 1999
Sex Roles, Vol. 44, Nos. 7/8, 2001
Blaming the Target of Sexual Harassment: Impact
of Gender Role, Sexist Attitudes, and Work Role
Margaret De Judicibus and Marita P. McCabe
School of Psychology, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia
This study was conducted to examine factors associated with blaming the
target of sexual harassment. Participants’ experiences of sexual harassment,
sexist attitudes, gender, gender role identity, age, worker or student status, and
belief in a just world were included as independent variables. Level of blame
was evaluated using a series of 12 vignettes that manipulated the gender of
the target and harasser as well as the seriousness of the harassing behavior.
The sample comprised 30 female and 32 male workers from two workplaces,
whose ages ranged from 18 to 65 ( M = 35) years, and 102 female and 18
male university students whose ages ranged from 17 to 40 ( M = 21) years.
Approximately 70% of the sample were from Anglo Australian background,
and 30% from European, Middle Eastern or Asian background. Females
experienced more sexual harassment than males did, although the male rate
was higher than expected. Although the majority of subjects attributed little
blame to the target, males blamed the target of sexual harassment more than fe-
males did, and workers blamed the target of harassment more than university
students did. Worker status, sexist attitudes, and gender signiﬁcantly predicted
blame for the total sample. Gender-typing increased the blame of the target by
males but not by females. Attribution of blame was signiﬁcantly inﬂuenced by
worker versus student status, which supports the social psychological perspec-
tive that gender-related behavior is context dependent. The ﬁndings from this
study suggest that organisational culture and environment inﬂuence respon-
dents’ attitudes to sexually harassing behavior.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at School of Psychology, Deakin University,
221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Victoria, Australia 3125; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2001 Plenum Publishing Corporation