Sexual aggression when power is new: Effects of acute high power on chronically low-power individuals
Author(s): Melissa J. Williams, Deborah H. Gruenfeld, Lucia E. Guillory
Abstract: Previous theorists have characterized sexually aggressive behavior as an expression of power, yet evidence that power causes sexual aggression is mixed. We hypothesize that power can indeed create opportunities for sexual aggression—but that it is those who chronically experience low power who will choose to exploit such opportunities. Here, low-power men placed in a high-power role showed the most hostility in response to a denied opportunity with an attractive woman (Studies 1 and 2). Chronically low-power men and women given acute power were the most likely to say they would inappropriately pursue an unrequited workplace attraction (Studies 3 and 4). Finally, having power over an attractive woman increased harassment behavior among men with chronic low, but not high, power (Study 5). People who see themselves as chronically denied power appear to have a stronger desire to feel powerful and are more likely to use sexual aggression toward that end.
Publication Title: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 112(2)
Pub Year: 2017
Pages: 201 – 223
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000068
Keywords: power, gender, sexual harassment, hostile sexism, sexual aggression

Related Publications
Related publication for Keyword(s): power, gender, sexual harassment, hostile sexism, sexual aggression