Moral Disengagement in Sexual Harassment (MDiSH) Scale

The Moral Disengagement in Sexual Harassment (MDiSH) Scale is a 32-item, self-report measure designed to measure mechanisms of moral disengagement among males in the behavioral context of workplace-based sexual harassment. Respondents are presented with various examples of social-sexual behavior, such as display of sexual materials, sexual jokes or gestures, and sexual comments or demands that create a hostile work environment, and are asked to report how strongly they agree or disagree with the situation, justification, or statement. Items are based upon eight mechanisms of moral disengagement within the self-regulatory system: moral justification, euphemistic labeling, advantageous comparison, displacement of responsibility, diffusion of responsibility, distortion of consequences, dehumanization, and attribution of blame.


Geographies Tested: United Kingdom,United States of America

Populations Included: Male

Age Range: Adolescents, Adults


Instructions: Below are a series of statements concerning men and women and their relationships. Please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with each statement using the scale provided. There are no right or wrong answers so please try to be as open and honest as you can in your responses.

1. Women often get jobs based on their looks, and should therefore expect to receive sexual comments about their looks from male colleagues
2. Displaying a calendar of naked women in the workplace is just a bit of fun
3. Making sexual comments about an attractive woman's appearance is no big deal, when you consider that men may attempt to grope her
4. Employees should not be blamed for swearing or using sexual language, when most of their colleagues do it too
5. In a workplace with a relaxed atmosphere, men cannot be blamed for "trying it on" with attractive women when they get the chance
6. Women should not get offended by sexual jokes in the workplace as they usually meant to be harmless
7. Using her body and sex appeal is the best way for a woman to attract a man
8. Women should lighten up a little bit and not get too uptight about sexual jokes at work
9. Considering that women often like to tease men by seeming sexually available, it is unfair when they complain about receiving sexual comments about their bodies
10. Men who make sexual comments to attractive women are just flirting with them
11. Making sexual jokes at work every now and then is not that serious compared to those who make sexual jokes all the time
12. If a man only suggests making sexual gestures to a good-looking woman, it is not his fault if his friends go ahead and do it
13. It is unfair to blame a man who tries to "hit on" attractive women at work, when his colleagues encouraged him to do it in the first place
14. Accepting sexual bribes from their boss can be helpful to some women in developing their careers
15. It is good to have an attractive woman around the workplace to keep morale up
16. If women wear sexy clothes at work, it is their own fault if they get sexual attention from men
17. It is fair for a woman to be put down, if she puts down her male colleagues
18. Employees who make sexual jokes in the workplace are just bantering together
19. When you think that some people steal from their employer, displaying a calendar of naked women in the workplace does not seem all that serious
20. Employees should not be blamed for making sexual advances at work, when other colleagues did it before them
21. If a man is being pressured to find a girlfriend, it is hardly surprising when he makes suggestive comments to women at work
22. Women should not get insulted when show them sexual interest, as it is a sign that they find them attractive
23. An attractive woman should expect sexual advances and should learn how to deal with them
24. Someone who complains about sexual attention at work must have invited it in one way or another
25. A real man should feel free to make sexual comments without worrying if it will offend women, as they are easily offended anyway
26. Wolf whistling at an attractive woman in the workplace is just "messing around"
27. Compared to cheating in a business deal, attempting to seduce attractive women at work is really not that serious
28. If a group of employees decide together to display a calendar of naked women, it is unfair to blame any one member of the group for it
29. If a manager fails to discipline their staff, men should not be blamed for making sexual jokes at work
30. Women tend to only get upset about sexual demands at work when they come from men they do not fancy
31. Seducing attractive women gives a man status and respect
32. Employees who receive sexual interest from their colleagues have usually sent some kind of welcoming signal to attract it

Items corresponding to the eight mechanisms of moral disengagement are as follows: Moral justification: 1, 9, 17, 25; Euphemistic labeling: 2, 10, 18, 26; Advantageous comparison: 3, 11, 19, 27; Displacement of responsibility: 5, 13, 21, 29; Diffusion of responsibility: 4, 12, 20, 28; Distorting consequences: 6, 14, 22, 30; Dehumanization: 7, 15, 23, 31; Attribution of blame: 8, 16, 24, 32.

Response Options:
Strongly Disagree - 1
Disagree - 2
Somewhat Disagree - 3
Neither Agree nor Disagree - 4
Somewhat Agree - 5
Agree - 6
Strongly Agree - 7

Scoring Procedures

The composite MDiSH score is computed by averaging the scores of the 32 items. Higher scores indicate greater susceptibility to moral disengagement.

Original Citation

Page, T. E., Pina, A., & Giner‐Sorolla, R. (2016). “It was only harmless banter!” The Development and Preliminary Validation of the Moral Disengagement in Sexual Harassment Scale. Aggressive Behavior, 42(3), 254-273.

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