Sexual Harassment and its Impact on Emotions among Adolescents in Sabah, Malaysia: An Exploratory Study

Balan Rathakrishnan, Azizi Yahaya, Soon Singh Bikar Singh


Sexual harassment has been one of the most pointed and hotly debated issues this decade. Therefore, this study aims to determine adolescents’ perception of sexual harassment and its impact on emotions. This study used quantitative methods where the data was obtained through the questionnaire survey, which consisted of the Sexual Experiences Questionnaire and Emotion Regulation Questionnaire, where 400 adolescents participated. The data were analyzed using the Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences (SPSS) application. Pearson correlation was used to explain the relationship between the two variables, adolescents’ perceptions towards sexual harassment and its impact on emotions. The results show that 208 adolescents had experienced sexual harassment, and most of them were female respondents. This study found a significant relationship between adolescents’ experiences of sexual harassment and their perceptions of sexual harassment. Besides, the relationship between adolescents’ experiences of sexual harassment and its impact on emotions also showed significant value. Therefore, this indicates that sexual harassment experiences significantly affected the victims’ perceptions and emotions. Sexual harassment is violence and, effective action must be taken to address the sexual harassment issue. Moreover, this study will benefit communities and adolescents about sexual harassment and its effect on their emotions.


Keywords: sexual harassment, emotions, adolescents, perceptions.

Full Text:



BIRDEAU, D.R., SOMERS, C.L., & LENIHAN, G.O. (2005) Effects of educational strategies on college students’ identification of sexual harassment. Education, 125(3), 496-511.

BLAKELY, G.L., BLAKELY, E.H., & MOORMAN, R.H. (1998) The effects of training on perceptions of sexual harassment allegations. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 28(1), 71-83.

BUCCHIANERI, M.M., EISENBERG, M.E., WALL, M.M., PIRAN, N., NEUMARK-SZTAINER, D. (2014) Multiple types of harassment: Associations with emotional wellbeing and unhealthy behaviors in adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 54(6), 724-729.

CHAUMAROENG, M., & PANZA, A. (2020) Prevalence and factors associated with safe sex behaviors among adolescent vocational students in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand. Journal of Health Research, 34(1), 79-87.

European Commission. (1998) Sexual harassment in the workplace in the European Union. Executive Summary. Available from

HAMDAN, A., & RAHIM, A.I.F. (2010) Persepsi kefahaman pekerja berhubung gangguan seksual di tempat kerja. Jurnal Psikologi dan Kaunseling Perkhidmatan Awam Malaysia, 5, 119-139.

HILL, C., & KEARL, H. (2011) Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School. Washington: AAUW. Available from

HO, I.K., DINH, K.T., BELLEFONTAINE, S.A., & IRVING, A.L. (2012) Sexual harassment and posttraumatic stress symptoms among Asian and White women. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 21(1), 95-113.

HUERTA, M., CORTINA, L.M., PANG, J.S., TORGES, C.M., & MAGLEY, V.J. (2006) Sex and power in the academy: Modeling sexual harassment in the lives of college women. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32(5), 616-628.

LEE, S., SONG, J., & KIM, S. (2011) Experience and perception of sexual harassment during the clinical practice of Korean nursing students. Asian Nursing Research, 5(3), 170-176.

LEE, V.E., CRONINGER, R.G., LINN, E., & CHEN, X. (1996) The Culture of Sexual Harassment in Secondary Schools. American Educational Research Journal, 33(2), 383-417.

LIMPAPHAYOM, W., WILLIAMS, R.J., & FADIL, P.A. (2006) Perceived differences in sexual harassment between business school students in the US and Thailand. International Journal of Cross-Cultural Management, 13(1), 32-42.

O’SULLIVAN, L.F., BYERS, E.S., & FINKELMAN, L. (1998) A comparison of male and female college students’ experiences of sexual coercion. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 22(2), 177–195.

RATHAKRISHNAN, B., & GEORGE, S. (2021c) Gambling in Malaysia: An overview. International British Journal of Psychiatry, 18, 32-34.

RATHAKRISHNAN, B., & RAVIDERANATH, S. (2014) The Relationship of parent-child attachment and peers attachment, with perception on baby dumping behaviour among multiethnic secondary school students in Sabah. The International Research Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, Issn-23204702. (IF 0.989)

RATHAKRISHNAN, B., BIKAR SINGH, S.S., KAMALUDDIN, M.R. et al. (2021b) Homesickness and Socio-Cultural Adaptation towards Perceived Stress among International Students of a Public University in Sabah: An Exploration Study for Social Sustainability. Sustainability, 13, 4924.

RATHAKRISHNAN, B., HALIK, M., & RAVIDERANATH, S. (2013) The Relationship of teacher interaction and self-esteem, with perception on baby dumping behaviour among multiethnic secondary school students in Sabah. International Journal of Scientific Research. 2, 145-149.

RATHAKRISHNAN, B., MOLUGULU, N., PARASURAMAN, B., & NARASAPPA, K. (2012) The Relationship of Stress, Alcoholism and Sexual Behavior with Mental Health among Secondary School Students: A Study in Sabah, Malaysia. European Journal of Social Sciences, 31, 376–383.

RATHAKRISHNAN, B., MOLUGULU, N., PARASURAMAN, B., & NARASAPPA, K. (2012) The relationship of stress, alcoholism and sexual behavior with mental health among secondary school students: A study in Sabah, Malaysia. European Journal of Social Sciences, 31(3), 376-383.

RATHAKRISHNAN, B., SAMSUDIN, A.R., SINGH, S, & JULIANA J. (2017) Job preferences among marginalized and non-marginalized youths: A multi-ethnic study in Sabah. Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 25, 55-66.

RATHAKRISHNAN, B., SINGH, S.S.B., GHAZALI, M.F., et al. (2022) Motivation factors attributed to engaging in online studies amongst public university students. Lecture Notes in Networks and Systems, 299, 217–226

RATHAKRISHNAN, B., SINGH, S.S.B., KAMALUDDIN, M.R., et al. (2021a) Smartphone addiction and sleep quality on academic performance of university students: An exploratory research. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(16), 8291.

SABITHA M. (2001) Action strategy toward perspective of sexual harassment at the workplace: Are men and women different? Jurnal Psikologi, 15, 59-87.

SABITHA, M., & RUSIMAH, S. (2003) Perceptions of sexual harassment in education institutions: Incidences and solving strategies. Proceedings of the National Seminar on Teachers’ Educational Research: Teaching Development toward Quality Education, 1-7, Aug 19-20; Kuching, Sarawak.

SANTRE, S., & PUMPAIBOOL, T. (2015) Sexual harassment among female undergraduate students in Bangkok, Thailand. Journal of Health Research, 29(Suppl.2), S223-S228.

SHAH, I.M., RAHMAN, H.A., ASHARI, H., KHALID, A.M., & KADIR, H.H.A. (2004) Sexual Harassment in Workplace: A Study on Victims and Harassers in Johor Bahru, Johor (Report No VOT: 71958). Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

SMALL, D.A., GELFAND, M., BABCOCK, L., & GETTMAN, H. (2007) Who goes to the bargaining table? The influence of gender and framing on the initiation of negotiation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 93(4, 600–613.

TERPSTRA, D.E., & COOK, S.E. (1985) Complainant characteristics and reported behaviors and consequences associated with formal sexual harassment charges. Personnel Psychology, 38(3), 559–574.

VAN ROOSMALEN E, & MCDANIEL SA. (1998) Sexual harassment in academia: A hazard to women’s health. Women and Health, 28(2), 33-54.

YEE, M.T.W., ALAGAPPAR, P.N., & NGEOW, Y.M. (2015) Differences in the perception of sexual harassment by gender and ethnicity among selected Malaysian undergraduates. Gender, Technology, and Development, 19(2), 204-230.


  • There are currently no refbacks.