Hagen, M. A. (2003). Faith In The Model And Resistance To Research. Clinical Psychology: Science & Practice, 10(3), 344-348.
Comments on the article by T. P. Sbraga and W. O'Donohue (WPE's Abstract Page) which addressed the role of psychological expert testimony in possible cases of child sexual abuse. Under the current model, acts of child sexual abuse (CSA) should traumatize and/or sexualize a child, producing signs and symptoms of these conditions that can be detected reliably by experts in the CSA field. A review of the last 20 years of research on CSA does not support the view that the majority of children known to have been sexually abused exhibit signs or symptoms of trauma. Neither do the majority of abused children reliably exhibit sexualized behavior. There is no sign or symptom that characterizes the majority of abused children. A significant percentage of children known to have been abused appears to be asymptomatic. For expert evaluation to be useful to victims and expert testimony to be useful to the legal system, experts conducting evaluations must incorporate knowledge of the absence of differential probabilities of indicators for abuse/no abuse into their professional opinions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2003 APA, all rights reserved)Author's email address