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Tessa M. Palmer, Psy.D., is a 2020 graduate of the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Theodore Ellenhorn, PhD, Committee Chair
  • Vincent Pignatiello, PsyD, Committee Member
  • E. Porter Eagan, PsyD, Committee Member

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2020

Abstract

While examples of sexual relationships between male high school teachers and female students have been historically prominent, relationships wherein the respective genders are reversed have received increased attention. Research on perceptions of sexual relationships between female high school teachers and their male students has focused primarily on the perceived differences between these relationships and those between male high school teachers and their female students. To explain the effect that gender appears to have on the perceptions of sexual relationships between female high school teachers and their male students, much of the literature has pointed to cultural constructions of gender, which interfaces with cultural power dynamics. In taking a closer look at the literature and the assumptions therein, it appears that cultural constructions and narratives (and the ways in which these inform perceptions) of these relationships are conflicted and/or split. The purpose of this theoretical research was to posit a theory of the cultural constructions and narratives regarding sexual relationships between female high school teachers and male high school students. To facilitate a more sophisticated and comprehensive understanding of these constructions and narratives, I collected and examined both real-world examples and fictional portrayals of sexual relationships between female high school teachers and male students, and employed a feminist psychoanalytic theoretical framework to inform my analysis.

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Tessa M. Palmer

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0002-8672-1719

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