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Michelle Deanee' Johnson, Ph.D Candidate, Family Studies

Substantiations of Sexual Abuse Allegations and the Effect on Socioemotional Development

Dr. Katherine Rose, Chair
Dr. Elizabeth McCarroll, Member
Dr. Rhonda Buckley, Member

Human Development Building Room  204
August 23, 2016 @ 2:00 pm
All TWU faculty. staff. and students are invited to attend

ABSTRACT

Professionals in the field of adolescent sexual abuse investigations must remain cognizant of how their decisions to move forward with an investigation may impact an adolescents' socioemotional development and coping abilities. These decision makers, in both the child protective service field and law enforcement, presume a significant amount of discretion into how far a case will go in the criminal justice system. The purpose of this study is to explore the impact of substantiated sexual abuse allegations of adolescent children between the ages of 14 and 18 years of age. This study is designed to identify socioemotional differences between adolescent children who have had sexual abuse allegations substantiated compared to those children who either did not identify as being a sexual abuse victim or those who did not have their allegations substantiated. Applying an ecological model of development may assist professionals in understanding adolescent response, validating the importance of adhering to research based best practices, and guiding effective interventions. This was a quantitative secondary analysis (N = 183), using data collected for the nationwide Longitudinal Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN). A MANOVA was used to identify relationships between predictor variables (gender and sexual abuse allegation outcomes) and outcome variables (internalizing, externalizing, total problem scores, total coping scores). Significant findings were found with respect to sexual abuse allegation outcomes and the effects on socioemotional development, specifically for allegation outcomes identified as "inconclusive" as well as for children who have identified as being sexually abuse; however, do not have an official allegation on record. Internalizing, externalizing, and total problem scores revealed significant differences among groups. Significant findings were also found for the interaction between gender and sexual abuse allegation outcomes but not with gender alone. There were no significant findings for total coping score.

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