Committee Chair

Warren, Amye R.

Committee Member

Ross, David F.; Ozbek, Irene

Department

Dept. of Psychology

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Publisher

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)

Abstract

Research demonstrates that children who have been sexually abused are at increased risk for further abuse. Children placed into foster care are also at heightened risk for abuse in their foster homes. While much research has been conducted concerning the credibility of children’s sexual abuse allegations, none has examined the believability of allegations of abuse within the foster care system. In the present study, 223 undergraduate psychology students were randomly assigned to read one of six scenarios. Each scenario described a girl (age 6, 11, or 15 years of age) who either resided with her mother and stepfather or foster parents. The girl was described as a past sex abuse victim with behavioral and emotional difficulties who is currently alleging sexual abuse by the stepfather or foster father. In a multivariate analysis of variance controlling for participant gender, there was a significant main effect for foster care residence but not for child age or the interaction between foster care condition and age. Children in foster care were less believable. For example, foster children were rated as more likely to be making up the allegation due either to anger at their caregivers, to get out of trouble at school, or to get out of their current living situations. Future research should investigate reasons for these negative views towards allegations by foster children.

Degree

M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.

Date

5-2009

Subject

Child abuse -- Investigation; Interviewing in child abuse

Discipline

Psychology

Document Type

Masters theses

Extent

vi, 74 leaves

Language

English

Rights

Under copyright.

License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/

Included in

Psychology Commons

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