Do child sexual abuse experts hold pro-child beliefs? A survey of the international society for traumatic stress studies

Margaret Bull Kovera, Eugene Borgida, April W. Gresham, Janet Swim, Ellen Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

As psychologists become increasingly involved in child sexual abuse cases, professional concerns have been expressed about their partisan orientation as child advocates. A survey was administered to examine the beliefs about child sexual abuse and children's capabilities as witnesses held by a sample (N=340) from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS). Multivariate analyses of variance suggest that female ISTSS members generally have stronger beliefs in the credibility of child witnesses than male members. Additionally, ISTSS members who work with victims of sexual assault generally have stronger beliefs in the credibility of children than members who work with veterans or other sufferers of traumatic stress reactions. Moreover, ISTSS members from southern geographical regions are less likely than respondents from other regions to endorse items in a manner that has favorable implications for a child witness. Beliefs of ISTSS respondents do not differ as a function of their educational background. Implications for the role of child sexual abuse experts in the legal system are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-404
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of traumatic stress
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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