Propensity to Sexually Harass: An Exploration of Gender Differences

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Abstract

This research explored the propensity of predominantly white male and female college students to engage in severe forms of sexual harassment. In addition, this research assessed the extent to which males' and females' intentions to harass are based on similar aspects of harassment situations. Results indicated that males had significantly higher propensities to harass members of the opposite sex than females. Additionally, the distributions of male and female scores on an instrument measuring propensity to harass were significantly different. Finally, analyses suggested that males and females attended to different aspects of harassment situations. Females appeared to attend to the nature of the power relationship between the potential harasser and target, which they defined more broadly than males, whereas males attended to the sexual aspects of the situation, which they defined more broadly than females. These results are discussed and their implications considered.

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