Psychological Consequences for High School Students of Having Been Sexually Harassed

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Abstract

The psychological and educational consequences of sexual harassment for high school students were investigated in two studies. Both studies involved a modified survey originally designed for the American Association of University Women (1993). In Study 1, which involved 760 male and 779 female high school students (mainly 16- to 19-year-olds), we compared the behaviors and attitudes of (a) students who had recently been harassed and were upset by it, and (b) students who had not been harassed. Harassment led to several negative psychological and educational consequences rather than to a general stress reaction. Consequences varied with the type of harassment experienced. In Study 2, we surveyed 30 male and 67 female university students who were enrolled in a 1st year psychology course. We found that current doubt about romantic relations was associated with two types of harassment experienced during high school. Thus, some specific consequences of harassment might be long-lasting.

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