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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 158161 Find in a Library
Title: Evaluation of Children's Sexual Behaviors and Incorporation of Base Rates in Judgments of Sexual Abuse
Journal: Child Abuse and Neglect  Volume:19  Issue:10  Dated:(October 1995)  Pages:1263-1273
Author(s): J M Wood; L Wright
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 11
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A total of 161 professionals and 97 undergraduates were asked to prioritize 12 hypothetical child protection services cases on the basis of sexual behavior displayed by children and estimate the probability of sexual abuse in a single case that involved a child who had displayed sexual behavior and came from a population with a known base rate of abuse.
Abstract: The crucial parts of the questionnaire were situations three and four. In situation three, subjects were provided with frequency information that would allow them to calculate the relative strength of the sexual behaviors as evidence of abuse. In situation four, subjects were provided with both base-rate and frequency information that would allow estimation of the probability of abuse in a particular child. When asked to prioritize the 12 cases as "high," "medium," or "low" on the basis of sexual behaviors, professionals were more accurate than students; however, when asked to estimate the probability of abuse in the single case, both professionals and students failed to incorporate base-rate information into their decisions. Consequently, both groups did not correctly estimate the probability of abuse under some circumstances. Professionals' performance on both judgment tasks was unrelated to level of experience with sexual abuse cases. 2 tables, 19 references, and appended example of questionnaires used in study
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse; Psychological victimization effects; Sexual behavior
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