Although research has investigated definitionsand prevalence of sexual harassment, little is knownabout responses to sexual harassment. Therefore, thepresent study was designed to explore how individuals interpret the communication of various targetresponses. One hundred and twenty employees fromhealthcare settings were randomly assigned to one offour conditions. The majority of the individuals in the sample was White-European American (75%) whilethe remaining 25% was comprised of minority members. Theconditions contained a video-taped interaction betweentwo co-workers, one male and one female. The male's behavior in each interaction continuedto escalate to the point of sexual harassment while thefemale's responses varied. There were two passiveresponses and two assertive responses. After viewing the short video participants responded toquestions assessing their perceptions of theinteraction. Results indicated there were no differencesin perceptions between men and women when viewing thevarious conditions. There were, however, differencesfound between the assertive conditions and the passiveconditions. Specifically, assertive responses areperceived as more effective than passive responses in communicating unwelcomeness and in deterringthe initiator's persistence. However, consistent withthe research on responses to sexual harassment,perceptions of sexual harassment appear to be based more on the initiator's behavior than on thetarget's responses.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2004
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