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Working title of PhD: Investigating perpetration of online sexual harassment: Who are the perpetrators and what are the main predictors of sexual harassment online?

Institution: Edinburgh Napier University

Full or part-time: Full-time

Year Commenced: 2021

Funding: Self-funded

PhD Supervisors: Adam Mahoney and Shane Horgan


This thesis focused on profiling adult perpetrators of online sexual harassment (OSH) and attempting to understand better why people engage in deviant behaviour online. As there is a current lack of research on perpetrators of OSH, this study took an exploratory approach, which started with a systematic literature review and meta-analysis to examine the extant research and prevalence of OSH perpetration and victimisation. The literature review identified a lack of methods to measure OSH perpetration, so this study constructed an OSH proclivity scale. There were three data collection stages, and a mixed methods approach was taken. The first data collection stage analysed messages and posts from perpetrators of OSH using content analysis to develop scale items for the OSH proclivity scale. A pilot survey and exploratory factor analysis were used to test the scale items, and the final scale was confirmed using confirmatory factor analysis of data from a second survey. The second survey included scale items which measured environmental, personal and social factors associated with OSH. A logistic regression model was used to examine the main predictors of OSH proclivity and a profile of perpetrators was constructed using a latent class analysis.



Edinburgh Napier University

Research Themes

New Media, Surveillance and Technology

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