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Middle School Sexual Harassment, Violence and Social Networks

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Abstract:

Objectives: To pilot a study of social networks informing contextual analyses of sexual harassment and peer violence (SH/PV). Methods: Seventh and 8th grade students (N = 113) in an urban middle school were surveyed via a Web-based instrument. Results: Boys and girls reported SH/PV victimization and perpetration at comparable rates. The proportion of nominated friends who reported SH/ PV outcomes was greater in boys' than in girls' social networks. Structural descriptors of social networks were not significant predictors of SH/PV outcomes. Conclusions: Collection of sensitive relationship data via a school-based Web survey is feasible. Full-scale studies and greater flexibility regarding the number of friendship nominations are recommended for subsequent investigations of potential sex differences.

Keywords: PEER VIOLENCE; PERPETRATION; SEXUAL HARASSMENT; SOCIAL NETWORKS; VICTIMIZATION

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5993/AJHB.37.6.6

Affiliations: 1: University of Chicago, Department of Substance Use, Mental Health and Criminal Justice Studies, Bethesda, USA. mumford-elizabeth@norc.org 2: Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, Arizona, USA 3: University of Chicago, Department of Substance Use, Mental Health and Criminal Justice Studies Bethesda, USA 4: Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2013

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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