Peer Sexual Harassment among Swedish Middle School Students: a Study on Perceived Discomfort and Psychological Well-being
This study aimed to investigate boys’ and girls’ experience of sexual harassment, especially in terms of perceived discomfort, and whether there is an association to their general psychological well-being (i.e., emotional problems and self-esteem). Online questionnaires were filled out by 968 Swedish fifth-grade students. Findings showed that girls reported significantly higher levels of discomfort related to sexual harassment than boys. Students who reported a high degree of discomfort reported higher levels of emotional problems and lower selfesteem compared to those who reported low or no discomfort. Victims of crossgender harassment were underrepresented in the no discomfort-group. Our results suggest that level of perceived discomfort in relation to peer sexual harassment could be a mediating factor between peer sexual harassment and psychological wellbeing among children, highlighting the need to investigate this further.