Confounding variables within “referral controls” for children with histories of sexual stimulation by adults: Implications for erroneous attributions from “childhood sexual abuse”

Michael A. Persinger1
1Laurentian University, Canada
Cite this article:  Persinger, M.A. (2008). Confounding variables within “referral controls” for children with histories of sexual stimulation by adults: Implications for erroneous attributions from “childhood sexual abuse”. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 36, 665-672.

Volume 36 Issue 5 | e1736 | Published: June 2008 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2008.36.5.665

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Verbal and performance scores from a standardized intelligence battery for age-matched children from four groups (n = 67) were compared to discern if the depressed scores for verbal intelligence displayed by children with histories of verified sexual stimulation by adults were epiphenomenal. The children had been referred to a psychiatric facility because of early sexual stimulation by adults, from a children’s mental health service because of family problems, or from a school board for conduct disorders. The fourth group was hospital controls for the first group. The children with nonculturally approved sexual activity with adults and those from the mental health service displayed verbal intelligence scores that were about one SD below the scores for children referred by the school board and for the control group. These results suggest that psychological variables may not reflect a causal relationship and hence group differences should not be attributed exclusively to the diagnosis of sexual abuse.

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