The Role of Ethnicity in Mexican American and Non-Hispanic White Students' Experience of Sexual Harassment

Lisa K. Kearney, Lucia Albino Gilbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This study explored dimensions of a social phenomenon not often investigated among Mexican American college students, namely sexual harassment. Mexican American (n = 261) and non-Hispanic White female students (n = 111) from three southwestern universities responded to scales assessing experiences of sexually harassing behaviors, harassment tolerance, and perceptions of perpetrator power. Participants described how they responded to the most offensive of the sexually harassing behaviors experienced. Nearly 80% of participants reported experiencing more than one sexually harassing behavior and a large majority identified another student as the harasser. Mexican American students reported experiencing fewer sexually harassing behaviors than non-Hispanic Whites, attributed less power to perceived sexual harassers, and reported greater harassment tolerance. The study's findings are considered within the context of best educational practices and how universities can better assist students, staff, and faculty in understanding what constitutes sexual harassment and ways in which it can be reported and responded to on campus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-524
Number of pages18
JournalHispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Mexican American students
  • campus climate
  • higher education
  • sexual harassment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language


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