Date of this Version
Published in Psychology of Women Quarterly 2015, Vol. 39(1) 53-66; doi: 10.1177/0361684313514371
Despite the frequency and negative consequences of stranger harassment, only a scant number of studies have explicitly examined stranger harassment and its consequences through the lens of objectification theory. The current study introduced and tested a mediation model in which women’s experiences of stranger harassment may lead to self-objectification, which in turn may lead to objectification of other people. To examine this model, undergraduate women (N = 501) completed measures of stranger harassment (including the verbal harassment and sexual pressure subscales of the Stranger Harassment Index), body surveillance, and objectification of other women and men. Consistent with hypotheses, significant positive correlations emerged among total stranger harassment, verbal harassment, sexual pressure, body surveillance, and other objectification of women. Other-objectification of men showed a similar pattern of results, with the exception of being unrelated to total stranger harassment and sexual pressure. Consistent with the proposed model, body surveillance was a significant mediator of the relation between total stranger harassment and other-objectification of both women and men, as well as the relation between verbal harassment and other-objectification of both women and men. Theoretical and practical implications, as well as future directions for research on stranger harassment, are discussed.