Refining sex-role spillover theory: The role of gender subtypes and harasser attributions

Diana J Burgess, Eugene Borgida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A refined model of sex-role spillover theory (SRST), which posits a role for gender subtypes and harasser motivations in understanding perceptions of sexual harassment, is tested. Fifty male and 61 female undergraduates were asked to assess female targets on stereotypic characteristics, and to make attributions of harasser motivations for six scenarios describing three types of harassment (unwanted sexual attention, gender harassment, sexual coercion) at two levels of severity (nonphysical and physical) toward women in two different types of occupations (traditional and nontraditional). As predicted, scenarios about traditionally and nontraditionally employed female targets elicited different gender subtypes and different attributions of harasser motivations, depending on the type of sexual harassment experienced. Theoretical implications of this research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-311
Number of pages21
JournalSocial Cognition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997


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