Sexual Harassment Communication Across the Context and the Lifespan: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

Jennifer A. Scarduzio, Jessica L. Ford, Sonia Ivancic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Despite extensive research, policy, and legal progress, sexual harassment is still a pervasive problem for female and male employees. Furthermore, organizations and administrators face challenges with training, communication, reporting, and handling sexual harassment situations. This chapter will serve as a review chapter of the relevant interdisciplinary research on sexual harassment as well as provide an overview of imperative sexual harassment research from a communication perspective. First, this chapter synthesizes extant research from multiple disciplines (e.g., management, sociology) - including a conceptual definition and the antecedents and the consequences of sexual harassment. Second, this chapter details a communicative perspective to studying sexual harassment, including attention to the discursive approach, narratives about sexual harassment, and attention to the importance of power and difference. Third, this chapter explores new areas of research, such as online sexual harassment and various communicative responses to harassment (e.g., coping and social support, disclosure and silence, and, resilience). Finally, the chapter discusses limitations of the current research and offers directions for future directions focused on macro-, meso-, and micro-level interactions. From a policy perspective, the chapter will also discuss why employees do or do not come forward and encourages organizations to reevaluate policies on reporting sexual harassment so that organizational responses can be more victim-centered and trauma informed. Sexual harassment can have psychological, health, and job-related consequences for victims; thus, it is important to understand the depth and breadth of the literature in order to decrease the harm victims encounter in these situations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Interpersonal Violence and Abuse Across the Lifespan
Subtitle of host publicationA Project of the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan (NPEIV)
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9783319899992
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022.


  • #MeToo
  • Gender harassment
  • Online sexual harassment
  • Power
  • Resistance
  • Sexual harassment
  • Unwanted sexual attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • General Medicine


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