Original Article

Sex Roles

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 1-13

First online:

Comparing the Impact of Bullying and Sexual Harassment Victimization on the Mental and Physical Health of Adolescents

  • James E. GruberAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, University of Michigan-Dearborn Email author 
  • , Susan FineranAffiliated withSchool of Social Work, University of Southern Maine

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A sample of 522 middle and high school students from a school district in a northeastern state in the U.S. was used to address two questions about bullying and sexual harassment: Is one more frequent than the other, and are there gender or sexual orientation differences in this regard? And, does one have greater adverse health effects than the other, and, if so, for whom? Bullying occurred more frequently than sexual harassment for both girls and boys but not among sexual minorities. Girls were bullied or harassed as frequently as boys, but sexual minorities experienced higher levels of both. Compared to bullying, sexual harassment had adverse effects on more health outcomes. These adverse effects were especially notable among girls and sexual minorities.


Sexual harassment Bullying Adolescents Health Gender differences