Assessing women's experiences of sexual aggression using the sexual experiences survey: Evidence for validity and implications for research

Maria Testa, Carol VanZile-Tamsen, Jennifer A. Livingston, Mary P. Koss

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

164 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this study we examined the ability of a modified Sexual Experiences Survey (SES; Koss, Gidycz, & Wisniewski, 1987) to assess sexual victimization among a local community sample of women (n = 1,014). Women who reported sexual victimization were interviewed regarding the most recent incident. Those who responded negatively to all SES items were asked whether they had ever feared they would be sexually assaulted but were not, and to describe that incident. Independent coders read a subset of transcripts (n = 137) and classified each incident as reflecting: one of the SES items, a form of unwanted sex not included on the SES, or not unwanted sex. Coders viewed nearly all incidents elicited by the SES as reflecting some type of unwanted sex. Respondent-coder agreement for rape and coercion incidents was high, but low for contact and attempted rape incidents. The SES scoring continuum, reflecting objective severity of acts, was only modestly associated with subjective trauma associated with rape, attempted rape, coercion, and contact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-265
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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