Adolescents’ Reasoning about Gender Harassment: The Role of Grade and Victim/ Perpetrator Genders
Romeo, Katherine E.
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This study investigated middle and late adolescents’ judgments of and reasoning about an incident of homophobic harassment in four conditions, where the genders of the victim and perpetrator were varied (N = 104). Participants were asked whether they thought the victim in their scenario was upset, as well as whether or not the perpetrator had a negative intention. Social cognitive domain theory served as the framework for coding adolescents’ reasoning. In addition, adolescents’ endorsement of gender stereotypes was measured. As expected, having had a male victim, as opposed to a female victim, was related to lesser odds of believing the harassment was completely wrong among tenth graders, and lesser odds of believing the victim was upset. Participants in tenth grade were also more likely to use conventional reasoning in justifying their judgments about harassment than those in twelfth grade. Participants in the male victim/ perpetrator condition were less likely to believe the perpetrator had a negative intention than those in the female victim/ perpetrator condition. Contrary to expectations, endorsement of gender stereotypes was unrelated to the use of conventional reasoning. The effects of endorsement of gender stereotypes and use of moral reasoning in relation to judgments of harassment were significant among participants in the male victim condition, but non-significant among participants in the female victim condition.
homophobic harassment: development