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Sexual Harassment - Identifying Risk Factors

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Markedra Wilkes

PSY 4360-D01

7 October 2018

        The article that I used for Module 2 Exercise was “Sexual Harassment: Identifying Risk Factors.” This article compared a new model called the four-factor model to other models of sexual harassment. During the introduction of the article, three types of sexual harassment were discussed. These types include gender harassment, unwanted sexual attention, and sexual coercion. When sexual harassment is reported in the workplace, the individual and the organization face consequences and difficulties. This article also mentions the four-factor model which includes motivation, overcoming internal inhibitions against harassment, overcoming external inhibitions against harassment, and overcoming victim resistance.

        The four major models to explain sexual harassment are natural/biological model, organizational model, sociocultural model, and sex-role spillover model. The natural/biological model explains that men are naturally more sexually aggressive than women; consequently, the behaviors of men in the workplace are taken out of context. The organizational model points out that individuals in higher positions use their authority to harass individuals with less authority. The sociocultural model addressed the societal context in which sexual harassment occurs (O’Donohue & O’Hare, 1998). The sex-role spillover model explains that when there are more men working, women stand out which makes harassment easier to occur.

         There were several hypotheses stated in this article. The first hypothesis was that women who were more attractive reported sexual harassment more. The second hypothesis was that women in private workplaces report sexual harassment more. The third hypothesis was women who know more about their grievance procedures for sexual harassment report less sexual harassment. The fourth hypothesis listed was sexist attitudes in a work place result in women reporting more sexual harassment. The fifth hypothesis was unprofessional work environments make women report more sexual harassment. The sixth hypothesis was women who work in male-dominated workplace will report more sexual harassment. The seventh hypothesis was women who are said to be feminine report more sexual harassment. The final hypothesis was women report more sexual harassment when they are in lower positions than their coworkers.

        In the study, there were 560 questionnaires given to 400 random, female faculty and students at a large Midwestern university to collect data. The questionnaire that was used was the Sexual Experience Questionnaire (SEQ). This questionnaire assessed women’s experience of sexual harassment in the workplace. The SEQ had three different types of sexual harassment which included gender harassment, unwanted sexual attention, and sexual coercion. The student population included students from sororities and introductory psychology courses. Less than 35 percent of faculty staff returned their questionnaires, and over 80 percent of the students returned their questionnaires. When the questionnaires were returned, there were 249 valid questionnaires to be used in the study.



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