PROFILES IN COPING: RESPONSES TO SEXUAL HARASSMENT ACROSS CLASS AND CULTURE
Wasti, S. A., Sabanci University, Turkey and Cortina, L., University of Michigan, USA
Cross-cultural issues in workplace sexual harassment have received surprisingly little research attention, despite the clear influence of culture on gender roles, chastity norms, and aggression. A particular topic that could benefit from a cross-cultural analysis is coping with harassment. This study investigated coping profiles among four groups of working women: working-class Hispanic Americans, working-class Anglo- Americans, professional Turks, and professional Anglo-Americans. Complete- link cluster analysis revealed, across different cultures and occupational classes, five coping responses: avoiding the situation, denying its seriousness, negotiating with the perpetrator, seeking social support, and reporting. We then submitted these five response scores to k-means cluster analysis, to better capture the multifaceted nature of coping. This analysis revealed, within each sample, three coping "profiles" (combinations of responses), two of which were remarkably similar across all four samples. Women whom we labeled as "vocal realists" described little avoidance or denial, instead speaking out about the harassment to friends and organizational officials. In contrast, "silent optimists" denied the seriousness of the situation and avoided confrontation or speaking up. Among the working-class women, a third profile-group emerged, dubbed "activists"; these women utilized every method of coping available. The opposite pattern characterized the third professional profile-group- "non-activists"-who denied use of any particular method to cope with harassment. Analyses will conclude with an investigation of person and organizational correlates of these various coping profiles. In sum, this paper will illuminate sexual harassment coping patterns as they intersect with culture and social class.