Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Benjamin Saunders

Committee Chair and Members

Benjamin Saunders, Chair

Angel Hall


Coping, Race, Sexual harassment, Stranger harassment, Street harassment, System justification


Stranger harassment is a pervasive, recurrent and, potentially damaging problem that requires women to cope with harmful effects. Stranger harassment is also a field that lacks in satisfactory research. With the aim of helping female victims and due to previous studies primarily focused on how White women in particular cope the present work will examine the racial differences in stranger harassment coping strategies. Additionally, understanding whether ideologies like system justification are associated with why women cope through certain methods is equally as important and will also be examined in the present work. The present study used a questionnaire method at a Northeastern, multicultural, and urban university with 143 females participating, representing a range of ages and races. Numerous predictions about the data were tested. The non-White identifying racial group will demonstrate significantly higher levels of active coping. The White- identifying racial group will demonstrate significantly higher levels of passive coping. Finally, passive coping will be dependent on system justifying ideologies among both racial-ethnic groups. Analysis of the data found that White-identifying participants significantly cope through passive methods more than non-White identifying participants. Furthermore, a trend in the data highlighting the potential for non- White identifying participants to cope through active methods more than White-identifying participants was found. Lastly, no relation was found between passive coping and system justification beliefs. The results establish a relationship between coping mechanisms and race, calling for further research in the subject area.

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