College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date


Document Type


Department/Program Conferring Degree

Women & Gender Studies


gender harassment, sex-based harassment, divine discrimination, Christian-motivated harassment, college adjustment


Gender harassment (i.e., derogatory comments or actions that express stereotypical attitudes regarding someone’s gender) is often times the most prominent form of sex-based harassment directed towards women in both workplace and academic settings. This study explored the moderating effect of Christian attribution on gender harassment predicting college adjustment for college women using a mixed-methods approach rooted in feminist theoretical perspectives. Two hundred twenty-three female-identified students attending a Catholic university in a large, urban city completed the Gender Experiences Questionnaire (GEQ), a measure designed to capture instances of sexuality policing, indicated whether they believed reported harassment was motivated by the Christian/Catholic belief of the perpetrator, and completed the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (SACQ). Additionally, participants were asked to write about their experiences of reported Christian-motivated gender harassment. Overall gender harassment negatively predicted college adjustment. Additionally, Christian attribution was found to moderate the impact of sexuality policing on college adjustment. A qualitative analysis of participants’ own descriptions of Christian-motivated gender harassment revealed that participants identified their classmates/peers as the most common perpetrator(s) of harassment and the most common cited reason for making a Christian attribution was knowing the perpetrator’s Christian/Catholic religious affiliation. Conclusions, limitations of the study, and future directions for research are discussed.