Although prior research has indicated that posttraumatic stress symptoms may result from sex-based harassment, limited research has targeted a key posttraumatic outcome – dissociation. Dissociation has been linked to experiences of betrayal trauma and institutional betrayal; sex-based harassment is very often a significant betrayal creating a bind for the target. The purpose of this paper is to extend existing research by investigating the relationship between sex-based harassment, general dissociation, sexual dissociation and sexual communication.
This exploratory study utilized self-report measures from a sample of male and female Oregon residents using Amazon Mechanical Turk (N=582).
Results of regression analyses indicated that harassment statistically predicted higher general dissociation, higher sexual dissociation and less effective sexual communication, even after controlling for prior sexual trauma experiences. Results did not indicate any significant interactions between gender and harassment.
When considering the effects of sex-based harassment on women and men, clinicians and institutional organizations should consider the role of dissociation as a possible coping mechanism for harassment.
These correlational findings provide evidence that sex-based harassment is uniquely associated with multiple negative psychological outcomes in men and women.
Adams-Clark, A.A., Rosenthal, M.N. and Freyd, J.J. (2020), "Out-of-body experience: Sex-based harassment linked to general dissociation, sexual dissociation, and sexual communication", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 39 No. 1, pp. 38-52. https://doi.org/10.1108/EDI-11-2018-0211
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