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Annotated bibliography: Non-clinical samples

This bibliography includes single studies and literature reviews based only on non-clinical samples; that is, on probability, college, or convenience samples. Clicking on the title will take you to more details from the article or book.

Bernard, F., "Pedophilia: Psychological consequences for the child," in Constantine, L.L. & Martinson, F.M. (eds.), Children and sex: New findings, new perspectives, Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1981, pp. 189-199.

This study conducted by Dutch clinical psychologist Frits Bernard examined the experiences of a convenience sample of 30 adults, mostly men, most of whom had un-coerced and positively experienced adolescent or childhood sexual experiences with adults.

Fromuth, M.E. & Burkhart, B.R., "Long-term psychological correlates of childhood sexual abuse in two samples of college men," Child Abuse & Neglect, vol. 13, 533-542, 1989.

Fromuth and Burkhart surveyed two samples of male college students about CSA experiences and administered several psychological adjustment assessments. Three-quarters of the incidents were boyhood sexual experiences with women. Their results suggested that in one sample, men who were sexually abused were slightly less well adjusted than the non-abused men, but in the other sample, there were no significant correlations between CSA history and adjustment difficulties. The authors try to account for this difference.

Haugaard, J.J. & Emery, R.E., "Methodological issues in child sexual abuse research," Child Abuse & Neglect, vol. 13, 1989, pp. 89-100.

Using a college sample, Haugaard & Emery studied how varying definitions of CSA impacted scientific findings regarding its consequences. When they defined CSA broadly as any sexual interaction that occurred before age 17 with someone at least five years older, CSA victims exhibited no statistically significant differences in adjustment from a comparison group. When CSA was defined more narrowly by excluding cases experienced positively and those involving only exhibitionism, CSA victims showed poorer adjustment in two areas. When CSA was defined even more narrowly so that it resembled clinical cases, CSA victims showed poorer adjustment in a larger number of areas. Additionally, when CSA was defined broadly, there were significant gender differences which disappeared when CSA was defined narrowly.

Meston, C.M., Heiman, J.R., & Trapnell, P.D., "The relation between early abuse and adult sexuality," Journal of Sex Research, vol. 36, No. 4, 1999, pp. 385-395.

The authors surveyed 1,032 university students to examine correlations between physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse on the one hand, and sexual adjustment on the other hand. They found that CSA was related to all measures of sexual behavior for females and to none for males. They write that their findings suggest an independent relation between childhood sexual abuse and sexual behavior in females, and between emotional abuse and measures of body image and sexual adjustment in males.

Rind, B. & Tromovitch, P., "A Meta-Analytic Review of Findings from National Samples on Psychological Correlates of Child Sexual Abuse," Journal of Sex Research, vol. 34, No.3, 1997 pp. 237-255.

Rind & Tromovitch reviewed seven studies using national probability samples. They examined the pervasiveness and intensity of CSA-related harm, and addressed gender differences. They concluded that when CSA is accompanied by factors such as force or close familial ties, it has the potential to produce significant harm. However, in general, CSA is not associated with pervasive harm, and when harm occurs, it is not typically intense. Furthermore, a causal link between CSA and later psychological maladjustment could not safely be inferred because of confounding variables. Finally, CSA experiences for males and females are not equivalent.

Rind, B., Tromovitch, P., & Bauserman, R., "A meta-analytic examination of assumed properties of child sexual abuse using college samples," Psychological Bulletin, vol. 124, No. 1, 1998, pp. 22-53.

Rind et al. reviewed 59 studies based on college samples and found that students who experienced CSA were, on average, slightly less well adjusted than controls. However, this poorer adjustment could not be attributed to CSA because family environment (FE) was consistently confounded with CSA, FE explained considerably more adjustment variance than CSA, and CSA-adjustment relations generally became nonsignificant when studies controlled for FE. Self-reported reactions to and effects from CSA indicated that negative effects were neither pervasive nor typically intense, and that men reacted much less negatively than women.

West, D.J. & Woodhouse, T.P., "Sexual encounters between boys and adults," in Li, C.K., West, D.J., & Woodhouse, T.P., Children’s sexual encounters with adults, London: Duckworth, pp. 3-137, 1990.

West & Woodhouse provide an overview of the research on the prevalence and effects of boyhood sexual interaction with adults. They address the difficulty of interpreting results of studies due to definitional issues, reliance on clinical samples, and the existence of children’s emotional problems before the sexual interaction. They describe several factors that affect the consequences for children and the differences between boys’ and girls’ reactions. They then describe the results of their own studies using college, convenience, and probability samples. Incidents involved willing encounters with women and men, as well as unwanted advances from men.

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