01:37am Sunday 05 July 2020

American Psychological Association Retracts Article Positing Excessively High Rates of Sexual Trauma Among Military Men

WASHINGTON – The American Psychological Association has retracted an article that reported excessively high rates of sexual trauma among military men because the data analysis was flawed.

The article, “Preliminary Data Suggest Rates of Male Military Sexual Trauma May Be Higher Than Previously Reported,” was published in a special issue on military sexual trauma of the journal Psychological Services. Other articles in the same issue, dated November, also indicated that the rates of sexual trauma in the military may be higher than previously reported.

“Although the article went through our standard peer-review process, other scholars have since examined the data and raised valid concerns regarding the design and statistical analysis, which compromise the findings,” said Gary R. VandenBos, PhD, APA’s publisher. “After further analysis, and discussion with the article authors, we have decided to retract this one article.”

VandenBos noted that the same journal issue includes 12 other articles on the extent of military sexual trauma and assault — with a common message that they occur more often than realized and are generally under-reported for many reasons—and they have long-term negative impact. “One article having some problems with its statistical analysis should not undo the power and facts of the other 12 articles as a collection,” he said.

“Military sexual trauma” was broadly defined in the journal articles and included sexual assault, sexual battery or repeated, threatening sexual harassment experienced during military service.

A revised press release on this special issue can be found online here.

For copies of other articles in this special issue, please contact the APA Public Affairs Office.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA’s membership includes more than 122,500 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives. 

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