The evaluation of sexual harassment litigants: reducing discrepancies in the diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder.

Lawson AK, Wright CV, Fitzgerald LF
Law Hum Behav. 2013 37 (5): 337-347

PMID: 23544390 · DOI:10.1037/lhb0000024

Relatively few targets of sexual harassment cope with the psychological sequelae of their experiences by engaging in litigation. Those who do are often subjected to forensic examination to evaluate their history of psychological distress or disorder and to determine whether such a condition could be reasonably attributed to the alleged harassment, as opposed to some other cause. An unbiased approach to such examinations is critical to all parties, as well as to the profession itself. This study investigates the relationship between the clinical and restructured clinical scales of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2, the Trauma Symptom Inventory subscales, the Crime-Related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (CR-PTSD) scale, and an American Psychiatric Association diagnosis (APA, Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders; DSM-IV-TR; 4th ed., text rev., 2000, Washington, DC, Author) of PTSD in a sample of sexual harassment plaintiffs. All measures performed well independently, but together provided improved predictive accuracy, suggesting that the use of multiple validated measures as well as structured diagnostic interviews may help us better understand litigants' experiences and reduce bias in evaluations.

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MeSH Terms (13)

Adaptation, Psychological Adult Female Forensic Psychiatry Humans Psychiatric Status Rating Scales Reproducibility of Results Retrospective Studies Severity of Illness Index Sexual Harassment Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic Washington Young Adult

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