In his study of how adolescents perceive sexual relationships between students and teachers, Professor Frank Hernandez sees that ages in a relationship influence judgments of impropriety.
Data reflects that relationships between older students (18 vs. 14 or 16) and younger teachers (21 vs 30 or 40) are less likely to be perceived as wrong and less likely to be reported. But when the power differential between students and teachers was greater, the situations were discerned as more wrong.
Results were published recently in the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse. Hernandez and co-authors, Jonathon McPheters and Jamie Hughes, received funding for the study from the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility at SMU.