An overview of the literature on sexual harassment: Perpetrator, theory, and treatment issues

Psychology Department, Keynes College, University of Kent, Canterbury KENT CT2 7NP, United Kingdom
Aggression and Violent Behavior (Impact Factor: 1.95). 03/2009; 14(2):126-138. DOI: 10.1016/j.avb.2009.01.002


Sexual harassment has been recognized as a serious problem in the literature over the past 30 years. In this paper, we review the existing research surrounding the phenomenon of sexual harassment, paying particular attention to factors of relevance for understanding perpetrators of sexual harassment. We also provide an overview of the perplexing nature of sexual harassment and the various concerns that have surrounded the topic leading to its recognition. The different theoretical perspectives and models of sexual harassment (sociocultural, organizational, sex-role spillover, natural/biological, socio-cognitive, and four-factor) are also considered and reviewed. Finally, lack of empirical evidence and focus on assessment and treatment for harassers is recognized in this paper, and several suggestions are made for future research and treatment avenues relating to the sexual harasser.

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