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Asking the Hard Questions: Psychologists' Discomfort With Inquiring About Sexual Abuse Histories.

Authors
  • Nixon, Belinda1
  • Quinlan, Elly1
  • 1 Discipline of Psychological Science, Australian College of Applied Psychology, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. , (Australia)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Violence against women
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2022
Volume
28
Issue
5
Pages
1358–1376
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1177/10778012211014558
PMID: 34160318
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

The literature on sexual abuse indicates low rates of inquiry by mental health professionals. This study explores early career psychologists' experiences of inquiry into their clients' sexual abuse histories. Twelve Australian psychologists participated in semi-structured interviews with transcripts analyzed using thematic analysis. The vast majority of participants reported that they did not routinely inquire about sexual abuse with barriers including not knowing what to do, discomfort, stigma, and fear of negative outcomes. Participants asserted that their university training in sexual abuse inquiry was inadequate. Findings emphasize the need for the development of an evidence-based framework for sexual abuse training.

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