Unreliability and error in the military's "Gold standard" measure of sexual harassment by education and gender

Maureen Murdoch, John B. Pryor, Joan M. Griffin, Diane Cowper Ripley, Gary D. Gackstetter, Melissa A. Polusny, James S. Hodges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The Department of Defense's "gold standard" sexual harassment measure, the Sexual Harassment Core Measure (SHCore), is based on an earlier measure that was developed primarily in college women. Furthermore, the SHCore requires a reading grade level of 9.1. This may be higher than some troops' reading abilities and could generate unreliable estimates of their sexual harassment experiences. Results from 108 male and 96 female soldiers showed that the SHCore's temporal stability and alternate-forms reliability was significantly worse (a) in soldiers without college experience compared to soldiers with college experience and (b) in men compared to women. For men without college experience, almost 80% of the temporal variance in SHCore scores was attributable to error. A plain language version of the SHCore had mixed effects on temporal stability depending on education and gender. The SHCore may be particularly ill suited for evaluating population trends of sexual harassment in military men without college experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-231
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Trauma and Dissociation
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Educational attainment
  • Military personnel
  • Plain language
  • Questionnaires
  • Reliability
  • Satisficing
  • Sexual harassment
  • Test construction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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