Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Criminal Justice

Degree Program

Criminal Justice, PhD

Committee Chair

Keeling, Deborah

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Andreescu, Viviana

Committee Member

Dawson-Edwards, Cherie

Committee Member

Schroeder, Ryan

Author's Keywords

verbal sexual harassment; victimization; middle school students


Until recently, sexual harassment research has focused primarily on adults and college and high school students with little attention given to younger students. While recent research has noted sexual harassment occurs among younger students, the literature addressing sexual harassment among middle school students is still sparse. Additionally, most studies of sexual harassment have focused on sexual harassment generally, with no distinction made between verbal and sexual harassment. In fact, only limited research has been exclusively conducted on verbal sexual harassment. Using self-report data, the current study adds to the literature by examining the nature of verbal sexual harassment as well as selected characteristics of the victims of sexual harassment through the lens of Gender Order Theory and Social Script Theory. Additionally, this study seeks to assess the effectiveness of one school-based violence reduction program, Shifting Boundaries, as implemented among 6th and 7th graders in 30 middle schools in the New York City School System in 2009-2010. The findings suggest that boys are the primary perpetrator of verbal sexual harassment against both genders, and the sexual harassment program was not overly effective in reducing perpetration and victimization among this population. Additional findings, limitations, and policy implications are discussed.