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Int J Public Health. 2018 Jan;63(1):3-11. doi: 10.1007/s00038-017-1049-3. Epub 2017 Oct 27.

The effects of non-physical peer sexual harassment on high school students' psychological well-being in Norway: consistent and stable findings across studies.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7491, Trondheim, Norway. mons.bendixen@ntnu.no.
2
Department of Psychology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7491, Trondheim, Norway.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The paper examines how strongly non-physical peer sexual harassment is associated with a wide range of well-being outcomes from symptoms of depression and anxiety to self-esteem and body image.

METHODS:

Two large community samples of high school students were analyzed (n = 1384 and n = 1485). Students responded to questionnaires on being subject to non-physical sexual harassment, sexual coercion and forced intercourse, and to well-being indicators ranging from anxiety, depression, self-esteem, body image.

RESULTS:

Regression analyses suggest that being harassed by peers in a non-physical way was moderately associated with lower levels of well-being over and above the effect of other risk factors. This effect was present for all indicators of well-being. The effect of peer harassment on depressive symptoms was moderated by sex (affected women more) but not by sexual or ethnic minority status.

CONCLUSIONS:

The findings imply that although sticks and stones may break bones, it does seem that derogatory words and other forms of non-physical sexual harassment definitely harm high school students.

KEYWORDS:

Emerging adults; Gender; Peer sexual harassment; Sexual and ethnic minorities; Well-being

PMID:
29079963
DOI:
10.1007/s00038-017-1049-3
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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