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The reletionship of television viewing and demographic variables with knowledge and attitudes about sexual harassment Johnston, Lorri


The purpose of this study was to explore whether television could be used as a meaningful way of raising people's awareness and knowledge about a social issue, namely, sexual harassment. The studied explored whether there was a relationship with those who watched television programs dealing with sexual harassment from those who did not watch such programs in terms of their knowledge and attitudes about sexual harassment in the workplace. Additionally, whether or not people perceived that their own attitudes changed after watching television programs about sexual harassment was also explored. A random sample of 500 men and women was drawn by computer from a large union in British Columbia. Of those randomly sampled, 239 (47.8%) returned useable surveys. Standard multiple regression analyses were performed to answer the six research questions that examined the relationship of age, gender, education level, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, experience of being sexually harassed, number of television programs watched about sexual harassment, and sources of knowledge (newspaper, radio, television, magazines, friends, information from union, other) with attitudes about and knowledge of sexual harassment and perceived change of view about sexual harassment. Simultaneous regression analysis indicated that there were four variables predictive of attitudes about sexual harassment for the entire group of survey respondents. These variables were gender, number of television programs watched, age, and information. These four predictor variables indicated that male respondents would be more tolerant and accepting of sexual harassment than female respondents; older respondents would be more tolerant and accepting of sexual harassment; respondents who watched television programs about sexual harassment, and respondents who got information from friends would be less accepting and tolerant of sexual harassment. For the knowledge criterion, simultaneous regression analysis indicated that there were two variables predictive of knowledge about sexual harassment, gender and information from friends, with gender being the strongest predictor. Being female and getting information from friends was predictive of being more knowledgeable about sexual harassment. For the perceived change of view criterion, only one independent variable, getting information about sexual harassment from magazines, was predictive of perceiving a change of view about sexual harassment associated with watching television programs about sexual harassment. Separate regression analyses run by gender were also reported in the study. Although the findings of the study were characterized by weak relationships, results may be suggestive of important implications for future training in terms of sexual harassment.

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