Document Type



Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Thesis supervisor: Dr. Xinyu Hu


The following study investigated the potential relationships between directly or indirectly witnessing sexual harassment, the witness’ gender, school engagement, and psychological distress. Participants from an undergraduate university (N = 168) responded to a survey in which they answered questions relating to witnessing sexual harassment and their psychological distress, burnout, school engagement, and perceived social support after the event. For purposes of analyses, potential relationships on psychological distress and school engagement were examined further. Participants who directly witnessed sexual harassment reported lower school engagement than participants who didn’t report directly witnessing sexual harassment. Direct witnesses reported lower levels of vigor, dedication, and absorption to their studies, with indirect witnesses also reporting low absorption. Male participants reported lower levels of psychological distress than female participants regardless of their status as a witness. Given the prevalence of sexual harassment in our culture, more research is needed to fully explore the effects of witnessing it has on people’s mental health and ability to complete their work.