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Title:The Structure and Function of Coping With Sexual Harassment
Author(s):Magley, Vicki Jo
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Fitzgerald, Louise F.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Social
Abstract:Studies of sexual harassment have recently begun to address the fact that most women do not stand idly by and let themselves be harassed; rather they do whatever is within their power to evade the harasser, divert his energies, or confront his behavior (e.g., Fitzgerald, Swan, & Fischer, 1995). The purpose of this research was to explore the structure of coping with sexual harassment as well as the function of coping behaviors with respect to its antecedents and consequences within an integrated model of sexual harassment. Study 1 reports on the underlying structure of women's coping with sexual. harassment. Based on multidimensional scaling, clustering, and confirmatory factor analytic techniques of eight data sets, four clusters of coping behaviors emerged with little variance across the data sets. Although the interpretation is imperfect, these clusters bear resemblance to Moos and colleagues' (Holahan, Moos, & Schaefer, 1996; Moos, 1992; Moos, Brennan, Fondacaro, & Moos, 1990; Moos & Schaeffer, 1993) distinction between coping strategies that employ a cognitive or behavioral method and between coping strategies that employ an approach or avoidance focus; the four clusters described here are behavioral approach, behavioral avoidance, cognitive approach, and cognitive avoidance. These four constructs were then examined in Study 2, which focuses on the antecedents and consequences of the ways in which women cope with offensive incidents of sexual harassment. Consistent with Lazarus and Follanan's (1984) cognitive stress paradigm, Study 2 proposed that coping mediates the relation between the stressor (harassment) and its impact (i.e., outcomes of harassment). Specifically, personal factors, stimulus factors, and organizational factors were hypothesized to influence choice of response; these responses were further hypothesized to influence outcomes associated with harassment. Structural equation modeling results based on data from nine data sets indicate that as harassment increases in frequency, so do women's cognitive and behavioral avoidance coping strategies; using behavioral avoidance coping further increases as the harassment is appraised as severe. Only when the harassment is appraised as severe do women engage in behavioral approach coping strategies; personal beliefs that harassment is an important social issue and frequency of harassment do not have direct effects on these coping strategies. Behavioral coping strategies mediate the relation between the stimulus factors and job satisfaction. Further, cognitive approach strategies mediate the relation between the stimulus factors and somatic well-being.
Issue Date:1999
Description:133 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1999.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9944930
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1999

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