The mixed company they keep: Potentially offensive sexual behaviors among adolescents

This study investigated the incidence and tolerance of potentially offensive sexual behaviors in relation to the gender composition of adolescents' friendship networks. High-school students (Grades 8 and 11) self-reported on the Sexual Experiences Questionnaire--High School and on the Social Network Form. Adolescents whose friendship network included a relatively greater proportion of other-sex friends tended to be those who experienced some form of potentially offensive sexual behaviors. However, tolerance (i.e., lack of upset) of these behaviors was not related to the gender composition of the friendship network. Moderate behaviors were perpetrated mostly by boys to both sexes, whereas severe behaviors were perpetrated by other-sex peers. The discussion addresses how sexual harassment in adolescence might be conceptualized.
Author: 
Lacasse,Anne
Purdy,Kelly T.
Mendelson,Morton J.
Reprint Status: 
IN FILE
Start Page: 
532
End Page: 
540
Journal/Periodical Name: 
International Journal of Behavioral Development
Volume: 
27
Issue: 
6
Abstract: 
The focus of this study was an examination of how the gender composition of adolescent friendship networks impacts the incidence and tolerance of potentially sexually offensive behaviors among adolescents. Three main predictiostered to 324 high school students in Grades 8 and 11. The participants were mainly French-speaking Canadian Caucasians. The findings suggest that adolescents whose friendship networks consisted primarily of opposite-sex peers experienced more potentially sexually offensive behaviors than networks made up of same-sex peers. Additionally, boys tended to perpetrate the moderate behaviors, with girls more likely to be upset by such behaviors. The results duplicate prior research findings while also contributing additional insight into non-sexual adolescent peer relations. Confounds such as those presented by individual differences in sexual maturation are also discussed.
Topic Areas: 
Adolescent/High School, Harassment, Male-Female Relations
Reference Type: 
JOUR
Reference ID: 
1961
Publication Date: 
2003