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1997: Searching for Correlates 

1) Psychological Correlates of Male Child and Adolescent Sexual Experiences with Adults: A Review of the Nonclinical Literature; Robert Bauserman, Ph.D. & Bruce Rind, Ph.D., Archives of Sexual Behavior, 26-2, 1997.
< http://www.ipce.info/library_3/files/psycorr.htm   >

G. Goslinga, Bauserman & Rind, Boys' Sexual Experiences, KOINOS 17, 1998. 

“Researchers have generally neglected sexual experiences of boys with adults, assumed them to be the same as those of girls, or tried to understand them by referring to clinical research while ignoring nonclinical research. 

A review of nonclinical research allows a more complete understanding of boys' sexual experiences with adults and the outcomes and correlates of those experiences. Research with nonclinical samples reveals a broad range of reactions, with most reactions being either neutral or positive. Clinical samples reveal a narrower, primarily negative, set of reactions. Comparison of the reactions of boys and girls shows that reactions and outcomes for boys are more likely to be neutral or positive. Moderator variables, including presence of force, perceptions of consent, and relationship to the adult, also relate to outcomes. Incestuous contacts and those involving force or threats are most likely to be negative. 

Problems in this field of research include broad and vague definitions of "abuse " and conflation of value judgments with harm. Effects of boys' early sexual experiences with older persons in general cannot be accurately inferred from clinical research alone or from girls' experiences.” 

2) A Meta-Analytic Review of Findings from National Samples on Psychological Correlates of Child Sexual Abuse, by Bruce Rind & Philip Tromovitch, in: The Journal of Sex Research Vol. 34, No. 3, 1997 pages 237-255.

G. Goslinga, Radical Reconsideration of the Concept of Child Sexual Abuse. New Findings by Bauserman, Rind and Tromovitch. Koinos #20 (1998).

< http://www.ipce.org/Library/00-013a_gos_koi_20_e.htm  > 

“Our goal in the current study was to examine whether, in the population of persons with a history of CSA, this experience causes pervasive, intense psychological harm for both genders. Most previous literature reviews have favored this viewpoint. However, their conclusions have generally been based on clinical and legal samples, which are not representative of the general population. To address this viewpoint, we examined studies that used national probability samples, because these samples provide the best available estimate of population characteristics. Our review does not support the prevailing viewpoint. The self-reported effects data imply that only a small proportion of persons with CSA experiences is permanently harmed and that a substantially greater proportion of females than males perceives harm from these experiences. Results from the psychological adjustment measures imply that although CSA is related to poorer adjustment in the general population, the magnitude of this relation is small. Further, data on confounding variables imply that this small relation cannot safely be assumed to reflect causal effects of CSA. 

Browne and Finkelhor (1986, page 178) cautioned "advocates not [to] exaggerate or overstate the intensity or inevitability of [CSA] consequences," because such exaggeration has iatrogenic potential. Despite this caution, child abuse researchers have tended to depict CSA as a "special destroyer of adult mental health" (Seligman, 1994, p. 232). McMillen, Zuravin, and Rideout (1995, p. 1037) recently commented that the "experience of child sexual abuse is a traumatic event for which there may be few peers." Results of analyses of the national samples show that such characterizations are exaggerated at the population level. This exaggeration may stem from our culture's tendency to equate wrongfulness with harmfulness in sexual matters (Money, 1979). CSA is violative of norms and laws in our culture; these facts, however, do not imply its harmfulness in a scientific or psychological sense (Kilpatrick, 1987). It is important to add to this discussion of exaggeration that understatement is also problematic. CSA is potentially harmful for young persons because of their vulnerability to being misused. The current findings should not be interpreted by lay persons as condoning abusive behavior. 

Finally, analysis at the population level may obscure characteristics of particular segments of the population. In the current review, the effect size estimate of the relation between CSA and adjustment, which was of low magnitude, cannot be interpreted as applicable to every case. When CSA is accompanied by particular dispositional and situational factors, including variables such as temperamental vulnerability, the use of force, or the presence of close familial ties between participants, then CSA might produce intense harm; on the other hand, if temperamental factors are favorable, if the child or adolescent perceives his or her participation to have been willing, or if the sexual experience is essentially trivial or transient, then harm may be absent (Constantine, 1981). Combining the former and later types of experiences into one category labeled CSA is problematic, because both negative and neutral effects can become obscured. By moving beyond sociolegal definitions of CSA and employing strictly scientific definitions (cf. Ames & Houston, 1990, Rind & Bauserman, 1993), researchers can better describe psychological correlates of the heterogeneous collection of experiences currently labeled as CSA.”  

3) Adult Correlates of Child Sexual Abuse, A meta-analytic review of college student and national probability samples; Philip Tromovitch, Bruce Rind & Robert Bauserman; Eastern Regional Conference of Society for Scientific Study of Sex (ER-SSSS), April 18, 1997.

< http://www.ipce.info/library_3/files/adcorr_txt.htm  > 

“Child sexual abuse (CSA) is viewed by the lay public, and by many professionals, as one of the most psychologically damaging events that a child or adolescent can experience. Opinions expressed by many professionals imply that CSA possesses at least four fundamental qualities or properties:

(1) it causes harm,

(2) this harm occurs prevalently among people who have had experiences classifiable as CSA,

(3) this harm is typically intense, and

(4) CSA is at least as harmful an experience for males as it is for females.

The current paper examines these implied properties by reviewing the results of 54 college samples and 10 national probability samples (5 male and 5 female) which provide data relevant to psychological correlates of CSA. In order to minimize confirmation and sampling biases, 100% sampling of studies was attempted and quantitative analyses (i.e., meta-analyses) were conducted.

Meta-analyses of 18 symptom domains revealed that students with experiences classifiable as CSA are, on average, slightly less well adjusted than control subjects across all 18 symptom domains. Meta-analyses of a composite effect based on national probability samples showed an identical effect size to that found in the college data.

Further analyses, however, indicate that this poorer adjustment cannot be causatively attributed to the CSA experiences because of the reliable presence of confounding variables (in the general domain of family environment), which, when controlled for, rendered the majority of CSA-symptom relations nonsignificant in studies where statistical control could be applied.

Examination of the reported reactions to the CSA experiences also revealed significant gender differences, with males reporting significantly more positive experiences than females; it is further noted that the socio-legal definitions of CSA that are currently used in CSA research are so broad as to be capturing very different experiences under the same rubric.

It is concluded that:

(1) college student data on CSA-symptom relations is generalizable to the population at large,

(2) the assumptions of causality of harm, prevalence of harm, and intensity of effects are false (at least in college student and national samples), and

(3) reactions to experiences included under the wide scope of the currently used socio-legal definitions of CSA differ greatly between males and females.

The findings from this report contradict prevalently held assumptions about CSA — assumptions that may bias not only the lay public, but researchers studying and reporting on activities classifiable as CSA.” 

Note, that

the authors did not start their own new research project. They have not interviewed anybody, but have only analysed research reports made by others. All topics discussed above will be criticized later, some of these critics will attempt to blame the authors. But one cannot blame the authors of the meta-analysis for what other authors have written.  

Remarkably, these three articles hardly caused any reaction, and many professionals had not even discovered them. This changed after the next article was published in 1998; a storm flood of reactions followed. 

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