Peer sexual harassment in adolescence: the function of gender

V Susan Dahinten
Canadian Journal of Nursing Research 2003, 35 (2): 56-73
The author describes the sexual harassment experiences of 565 male and female students in Grades 9 through 11 and discusses the influence of the social construction of gender on those experiences. The sample was drawn from 12 schools in 2 Canadian provinces. The study employed a retrospective correlational survey design, using self-report questionnaires administered in class. The results indicate that sexual harassment is pervasive among both male and female adolescents but is particularly problematic for girls due to their qualitatively different harassment experiences. Both girls and boys reported gender harassment to be, in general, more upsetting than unwanted sexual advances. Girls employed a greater variety of coping strategies than boys; however, for both sexes passive coping strategies were predominant. The author offers recommendations related to school health programming and discusses the role of the school nurse.

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