Earlier this month, the American Psychological Association published a study that concluded that male-on-male sexual assault in the military was occurring at an alarming, previously unthought-of rate. Now, the study, which appeared in the journal Psychological Services, has been retracted due to findings that the APA is calling "compromised."

As Military Times reports, the initial study asserted that male-on-male sexual assault in the military was occurring at a rate 15 times higher than what was being reported by victims. The study claimed to use two different surveys of post-9/11 combat veterans to conclude this: one that required subject identification and another that offered complete anonymity.

"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,” Gary VandenBos, a publisher for the APA told the press. The study's lead author, Sean Sheppard, a doctoral candidate at the University of Utah's National Center for Veterans Studies, could not been reached for comment.


Despite the retraction, VandenBos reiterates that the newest, special issue of Psychological Services, which spotlights sexual trauma in the military, is worthy of attention and consideration. Other articles in the special issue conclude that male servicemembers who experience sexual assault experience more pronounced symptoms of PTSD and depression and that just 14% of servicewomen who experience sexual assault PTSD seek medical treatment, among other findings.

“One article having some problems with its statistical analysis should not undo the power and facts of the other 12 articles as a collection,” VandenBos told Military Times. Co-editor Michi Fu added, "“We know that there is under-reporting among men and women and hope that this special issue will help to bring awareness and treatment for those that serve and protect us."

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