Physical and psychological causality as determinants of culpability in sexual harassment cases

Daniel A. Thomann, Richard L. Wiener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Scopus citations


In this study a hierarchical legal model was presented to explain how observers arrive at decisions regarding culpability and disciplinary action in cases of alleged sexual harassment. Subjects read a vignette describing a sexual advance. Information about the flagrance of the request, the victim's response, and the frequency of similar encounters were manipulated in order to examine their impact on dimensions of culpability. Subjects then completed a series of Likert-type scales designed to assess the critical dimensions in the model. The findings provided support for the model, suggesting that subject's decisions regarding physical causality and psychological causality are critical factors in attribution of responsibility and that these attributions impact subsequent disciplinary decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-591
Number of pages19
JournalSex Roles
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 1987


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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