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Perceived credibility of children's sexual abuse allegations: effects of gender and sexual attitudes.

Authors
  • O'Donohue, W T
  • Elliott, A N
  • Nickerson, M
  • Valentine, S
Type
Published Article
Journal
Violence and victims
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1992
Volume
7
Issue
2
Pages
147–155
Identifiers
PMID: 1419924
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

We investigated whether sex role stereotyping, adversarial sexual beliefs, acceptance of interpersonal violence, sex of the subject, characteristics of the child (age, sex), and characteristics of the alleged perpetrator (stranger, father) affect judgments of the credibility of children's reports that they have been sexually abused. Two hundred and fifty-five college students in a 3 x 2 x 2 factorial arrangement were given the Burt (1980) scales and asked to read a short vignette in which a child alleged that he/she was sexually abused and the accused male denied the abuse. Although the vast majority of subjects indicated that they believed the child was telling the truth, females rated the child's credibility significantly higher than males F(1, 253) = 6.29, p = .01226. No other significant relationships were found. The results imply that the vast majority of individuals in a college sample tended to believe children's sexual abuse allegations and that this credibility assessment is not influenced by characteristics of the child or perpetrator examined in this study. Implications of the truncated range of the dependent variable and of the Burt scales are discussed.

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