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Out-of-body experience: Sex-based harassment linked to general dissociation, sexual dissociation, and sexual communication

Alexis A. Adams-Clark (Department of Psychology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA)
Marina N. Rosenthal (Department of Psychology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA)
Jennifer J. Freyd (Department of Psychology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 10 June 2019

Issue publication date: 8 January 2020

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

This exploratory study utilized self-report measures from a sample of male and female Oregon residents using Amazon Mechanical Turk (N=582).

Findings

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.

Practical implications

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.

Originality/value

These correlational findings provide evidence that sex-based harassment is uniquely associated with multiple negative psychological outcomes in men and women.

Keywords

Citation

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

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited