Sexual harassment: An experimental test of sex-role spillover theory

Diana J Burgess, Eugene Borgida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

This experimental study examined the ways in which knowledge of a woman's occupation type influenced how different types of sexual harassment were perceived. A total of 53 male and 58 female undergraduates were asked to evaluate six scenarios describing three types of harassment (unwanted sexual attention, gender harassment, and sexual coercion) at two levels of severity (nonphysical and physical) toward women in two different types of occupations (traditional and nontraditional). The results indicated that participants were less likely to perceive incidents of sexual coercion as harassing when a woman is in a nontraditional occupation. The results also provided evidence of a perceptual gap between men and women for incidents of unwanted sexual attention and gender harassment but not for incidents of sexual coercion. Results provide support for the sex-role spillover model of sexual harassment proposed by Gutek. Theoretical and legal implications of this research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-75
Number of pages13
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1997

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Sexual harassment: An experimental test of sex-role spillover theory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this