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Abstract

University students’ intentions to stand up for a female-peer victimized in a sexual harassment incident by peer and/or professor as perpetrator were explored using the planned behavior theory. The participants were 296 Greek male and female undergraduate students. Using a standard planned behavior theory questionnaire, hypothetical scenarios of sexual harassment conveyed through (a) unwanted verbal comments of sexual content, (b) unwanted physical contact, and (c) gender based taunting, were presented to participants. In all scenarios, bystander intention to stand up was predicted. Specifically, we found that it is more likely for a student-bystander to intervene when perceiving a strong social pressure as significant others would also stand up for a victim; his/her self-control beliefs are strong over the behavior to stand up; and when his/her attitude is negative and unfavorable toward the witnessed conduct. In both peer- and professors-as-perpetrator scenarios, female students, more than males, held significantly more negative attitudes towards sexual harassment and stronger intentions to intervene. Considering female students’ well-being, findings are related to the characteristics of the Greek society and the lack of protective laws and policies against sexual harassment in Greek academia.

Note on the Author

Stiliani “Ani” Chroni, Ph.D., CC-AASP, is a performance enhancement consultant, teaching at the University of Thessaly in Greece as Assistant Professor. Her research focuses on the psychological safety, health and well-being of physically active individuals and on day-to-day issues that enhance persistence, performance and quality of life. She is currently the Secretary of WomenSport International, an issues and action based organization formed to bring about positive change for girls and women in sport.

Stefania Grigoriou, M.Sc. Stefania Grigoriou is a doctoral student at the University of Thessaly. He research focuses on psychological health.

Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor teaching at the University of Thessaly in Greece. His research focuses on psychological factors that enhance performance of physically active individuals in daily life.

Yannis Theodorakis, Ph.D., is Professor and Vice-Rector of Academic Affairs at the University of Thessaly. His research focuses on psychological factors that enhance physically active individuals’ quality of life.

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