Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study finds surprising gender differences related to sexual harassment

Date:
April 1, 2011
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
Sexual harassment may have become so commonplace for women that they have built up resistance to harassing behavior they consider merely "bothersome," suggests a provocative new study.

Sexual harassment may have become so commonplace for women that they have built up resistance to harassing behavior they consider merely "bothersome," suggests a provocative new study by Michigan State University researchers.

Related Articles


This effect, said lead investigator Isis Settles, may be similar to the way people build up immunity to infection following exposure to a virus.

"When women view sexual harassment as bothersome, it doesn't seem to be associated with distress," said Settles, associate professor of psychology. "In some ways this suggests that sexual harassment is such a widespread problem that women have figured out ways to deal with it so it doesn't interfere with their psychological well-being."

For the study, which appears in the research journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, the researchers examined surveys of more than 6,000 women and men serving in all five branches of the U.S. military.

Sexual harassment was a problem for both sexes, the study found. More than 50 percent of women and nearly 20 percent of men reported at least one incident of sexual harassment during a 12-month period.

The study is one of the first to examine how both men and women view harassment -- whether they saw it as bothersome or frightening -- and how these perceptions relate to their psychological well-being, Settles said. The survey covered 16 types of verbal and physical harassment, including offensive stories or jokes and touching that made the person uncomfortable.

For women, sexual harassment was distressing when they saw it as frightening, but not when they saw it as bothersome. "We were surprised by this finding," Settles said. "We thought women would be negatively impacted if they saw their harassment as frightening or bothersome."

For men, sexual harassment was distressing when they saw it as either frightening or bothersome, she said.

"People tend to underestimate the impact of sexual harassment on men," Settles said. She added that men "typically haven't had a lifetime of experiences dealing with sexual harassment and may not know how to deal with it when it happens to them."

Settles said the study does not suggest sexual harassment is less distressing for women than men.

The MSU research team also includes psychology professors Zaje Harrell and NiCole Buchanan, and doctoral candidate Stevie Yap.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. I. H. Settles, Z. A. T. Harrell, N. T. Buchanan, S. C. Y. Yap. Frightened or Bothered: Two Types of Sexual Harassment Appraisals. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2011; DOI: 10.1177/1948550611402520

Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "Study finds surprising gender differences related to sexual harassment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110330101242.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2011, April 1). Study finds surprising gender differences related to sexual harassment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110330101242.htm
Michigan State University. "Study finds surprising gender differences related to sexual harassment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110330101242.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) Model schools are rethinking how they engage with the community to help enhance the lives of the students and their parents. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Rooftop Comedy (Jan. 26, 2015) A man in Texas saved every penny he found for 65 years, and this week he finally cashed them in. Bank tellers at Prosperity Bank in Slaton, Texas were shocked when Ira Keys arrived at their bank with over 500 pounds of loose pennies stored in coffee cans. After more than an hour of sorting and counting, it turned out the 81 year-old was in possession of 81,600 pennies, or $816. And he&apos;s got more at home! Video provided by Rooftop Comedy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

BuzzFeed (Jan. 24, 2015) Did you back it up? Do you even know how to do that? Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins