Sexual Orientation and Harassment: The Role of Sexism in Predicting Reactions to Harassment
Department of Psychology, Florida Southern College Lakeland
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Previous research suggests ambivalent sexism may be related to the likelihood of accurately identifying sexual harassment. In the current study, we investigate the relationship between sexism and perceptions of sexual harassment for heterosexual and homosexual targets. Participants n 233 who were enrolled in a military human relations specialist management course read a short vignette and completed a short questionnaire regarding their reactions to the vignette. The vignettes differed by the sex of the target male vs. female and the sexual orientation of the target heterosexual vs. homosexual. We found that participants who were high in hostile sexism were less likely to judge the complaint made by the target as sexual harassment. However, benevolent sexism was not related to judgment of sexual harassment. We also found that homosexual targets were more likely to be believed when making a complaint of sexual harassment than heterosexual targets. Implications of these findings for the United States military are discussed.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Military Forces and Organizations