Emerging issues in the measurement of rape victimization

Sarah L. Cook, Christine A. Gidycz, Mary P. Koss, Megan Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


We provide an overview of emerging directions in the measurement of rape, the most extreme form of sexual victimization. The context for our overview is how operational definitions of rape have evolved, where consensus has emerged, and where it eludes the field. We discuss two approaches to the detection of rape victimization in survey methods, namely behaviorally specific questions and a new, two-stage approach, and how each can be evaluated in terms of validity. We point out promises and pitfalls of the two-stage approach and make suggestions for its implementation and evaluation. We conclude that all empirical research to date supports the use of behaviorally specific compared to broad questions, that a standard definition of rape and its components of act, tactics, and nonconsent is imperative to move the field forward, and that research to systematically validate methods of detecting rape victimization is needed. To that end, we propose an agenda.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-218
Number of pages18
JournalViolence Against Women
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • construct validity
  • measurement
  • rape
  • self-report

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Emerging issues in the measurement of rape victimization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this