skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 135595 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Children's Memories of a Physical Examination Involving Genital Touch: Implications for Reports of Child Sexual Abuse
Journal: Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology  Volume:59  Issue:5  Dated:(October 1991)  Pages:682-691
Author(s): K J Saywitz; G S Goodman; E Nicholas; S F Moan
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: US Dept of Health and Human Services
Washington, DC 20201
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Recognizing that the evaluation of child sexual abuse often requires interviewing children about genital touch, this study involved 72 female children between 5 and 7 years of age who experienced a standardized medical checkup.
Abstract: The study was especially interested in the relation between age and reports of genital touch, but it also sought to examine questioning techniques for obtaining information from children. The study sample was selected from public elementary schools in Los Angeles County. The first part of the study questionnaire included a free recall question concerning the doctor's visit. The second part involved an anatomically detailed doll and prop demonstration, while the third part consisted of 70 questions (including 21 misleading questions). All children received the same interview which was videotaped. For half the children, the checkup included a vaginal and anal (genital) examination. For the other half, the checkup involved a scoliosis (nongenital) examination. Most children in the genital condition revealed vaginal and anal contact only when asked directly about it. Children in the nongenital condition never falsely reported genital touch in free recall or doll demonstration; when asked directly, the false report rate was low. Significant age differences in free recall and doll demonstration, found only in the nongenital condition, implicated socioemotional factors as suppressing the reports of older children who experienced genital contact. Study findings strengthen the need for replicating previous research on children's memory and testimony with more ecologically valid paradigms before generalizing to cases of sexual molestation. 36 references and 5 tables (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse
Index Term(s): Anatomically correct dolls; California; Juvenile witnesses; Self-report studies; Witness credibility
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.