Forensic Psychology: Theories of Sexual Harassment


Hello, everyone I hope that you’re having a good week.


Today’s blog post is on the theories of sexual harassment that you in featured in my Forensic psychology in roughly January 2020.


Sociocultural theory:

This theory focuses on the social and political context that sexual harassment is created and occurs in and this theory states that sexual harassment results from the society’s sexism, inequity beliefs and attitudes.


A positive is this theory is that it’s a logical synthesis of society’s inequity, patriarchy and dominance.


A negative of the theory is that it’s too broad and it doesn’t go into detail.


Organisational theory:

This theory states that sexual harassment is caused by a wide variety of organisational- related issues. Such as: gender inequality and power, as well as sexual harassment is committed by peers or even subordinates to decrease the power difference.


Additionally, the theory plays a vital role in the focus on decreasing sexual harassment in the workplace.


An advantage of the theory is that it’s supported by empirical evidence and tested as well as it links organisational factors together.


However, it doesn’t account for individual differences.


Sex role spillover theory:

This theory brings together situational and individual charactertics whilst stating that people bring their own beliefs into the workplace and this causes conflict. Ultimately leading to sexual harassment.


A positive of the theory is that it is a more holistic approach.


Although, the theory needs refinement and it focuses too much on men as women can sexually harassment as well.


Biological theory:

This is an extension of natural selection as men have a drive to reproduce as much as possible and there’s a difference between men and women’s reproduction strategies, so this leads to conflict.


An advantage of the theory is that it unifies evolution and sexual offending.


However, this theory is reductionist as it ignores cognitive and social factors that can play a role in sexual harassment.


Four factor theory:

(O’Hare and O’Donohue 1998)


This theory believes that four factors must be overcome/ maintained to perform the behaviour.


The four factors are:

· Motivated to harass

· Overcome internal inhibitions (mortality)

· Overcome external inhibition (professionals)

· Overcome victim’s resistance


A positive of the theory is that it is holistic and explains sexual harassment in depth, but it’s not fully tested and factors 1 and 2 have not been researched.

I hope that you found this interesting.


If you want to know more information about psychology, please consider buy my books.

Equally, you could join my mailing list and receive a FREE book.

Have a good week everyone!

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