Effects of context and question type on endorsement of childhood sexual abuse

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Abstract

Use of contextual information and behaviorally specific questions have been found to detect higher rates of child sexual abuse (CSA); however, no study has examined the use of contextual information or question type within 1 study. This study examined 236 college students randomly assigned to 1 of 4 conditions: noncontext/label questions, noncontext/specific question, context/label questions, context/specific questions. Reported history of CSA did not differ across presentation of videotaped contextual information. However, respondents endorsed behaviorally specific questions significantly more (32%) than label questions (9%). Results suggest that researchers and clinicians attempting to detect childhood victimization history should utilize multiple behaviorally specific screening questions.

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