Sexual Harassment and Sociosexuality

Short description
Sexual harassment and sociosexuality
Sexual harassment may be explained mainly by two different motives: exertion of power and initiation of sexual contact (that is unwanted by the target).
Individual dispositions for both motives can be validly measured by questionnaire scales: The power aspect is assessed by the likelihood to sexually harass (LSH) scale; the sexual aspect by scales of a sociosexual short-term mating orientation (STM).
The project addresses two research questions:
(1) the empirical differentiation of the constructs LSH and STM concerning sexually harassing behavior;
(2) gaining evidence for a double dissociation of both constructs in the prediction of hostile and degrading versus ambiguous and contact-initiating forms of sexually harassing behavior.
The aim of the project is contributing to knowledge about the interaction of the situational context and target characteristics with chronic dispositions of potential perpetrators in the prediction of sexually harassing behavior.

First results (Diehl, Vanselow, & Bohner, 2010):
(1) Data of a correlational pilot study (N = 145) provided evidence of the independency of LSH and STM (r = .06, p = .72). Moreover, only LSH was correlated with misogynistic attitudes such as hostile sexism and the acceptance of myths about sexual aggression and harassment (rs > .34, ps < .05), whereas STM was not.
(2) A first study (N = 165), using a computer-simulated chat situation, showed that men who are high in LSH (as measured by a German scale that was developed in our lab; Vanselow, Bohner, Becher & Siebler, 2010) sent more sexist jokes to their female chat-partner, whereas men high in STM (as measured by the Sociosexual Orientation Inventory; Jackson & Kirkpartick, 2007) sent more “saucy” personal remarks. Thus, LSH and STM differentially predicted participants’ preferred type of harassment. Explicit disapproving feedback by the target led to less sexually harassing behavior for both types of harassment.

Herr Prof. Dr. Gerd Bohner
Frau Dr. Nina Vanselow
Frau Charlotte Diehl
Cooperation partners
Fakultät für Psychologie und Sportwissenschaft/Abteilung für Psychologie
Institut für interdisziplinäre Konflikt- und Gewaltforschung
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft