Sex and power in the academy: Modeling sexual harassment in the lives of college women
Feeding and Eating Disorders
The authors build an integrated model of the process by which academic sexual harassment undermines women's well-being; also examined is harasser power as a potential moderator of this process. Data from 1,455 college women suggest that sexual harassment experiences are associated with increased psychological distress, which then relates to lower academic satisfaction, greater physical illness, and greater disordered eating. The cumulative effect is greater disengagement from the academic environment, which in turn relates to performance decline (i.e., lower grades). Regardless of how frequently the harassment occurred, academic satisfaction was lower when the harassment came from higher-status individuals (i.e., faculty, staff, or administrators). At the same time, harassment was equally detrimental to mental health, regardless of who perpetrated it. The article concludes with implications for theory, research, and intervention.