Adolescent school-based sexual victimization: Exploring the role of opportunity in a gender-specific multilevel analysis

Marie Skubak Tillyer, Pamela Wilcox, Brooke Miller Gialopsos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Most research on school-based adolescent sexual victimization has lacked an explicit theoretical focus. This study examined whether an opportunity framework is appropriate for understanding adolescent school-based sexual harassment and sexual assault victimization using gender-specific multilevel analysis. Methods: Using a sample of middle and high school adolescents, we examined the effects of individual-level indicators of opportunity on school-based sexual harassment and sexual assault victimization. In addition, we explored the relative influence of school factors on student sexual victimization, including the potential moderating influence the school environment may have on the effects of individual-level indicators of opportunity. Finally, we examined the potential differences in the correlates of sexual victimization across male and female adolescents. Results: Several individual-level indicators of opportunity were associated with school-based sexual harassment and sexual assault for both males and females, though several important gender differences were observed. In addition, school factors directly and indirectly influenced sexual victimization. Conclusions: Findings suggest that an opportunity framework is appropriate for understanding school-based sexual harassment and sexual assault victimization, and that important gender differences do exist. The implications of these results and directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1071-1081
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Volume38
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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