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Clinicians' hypotheses regarding clients' problems: Are they less likely to hypothesize sexual abuse in male compared to female clients?

Clinicians' hypotheses regarding clients' problems: Are they less likely to hypothesize sexual abuse in male compared to female clients?

Child Abuse and Neglect 20(6): 493-501

ISSN/ISBN: 0145-2134

PMID: 8800524

DOI: 10.1016/0145-2134(96)00031-2

Sixty-one clinical psychologists completed a questionnaire about a detailed case summary of an adult client which incorporated a number of indicators that the client may have been sexually abused. The gender of the client was manipulated. Significantly more clinicians hypothesized that the female client (compared to the mate client) had been sexually abused in childhood. Clinicians who were more recently qualified, and clinicians who identified their predominant theoretical orientation as psychodynamic (rather than cognitive-behavioral), were more likely to hypothesize sexual abuse, although these effects were only statistically significant for the female clients. The majority of clinicians hypothesizing sexual abuse in the female client rated the abuse as the most important issue to address in therapy; this was not the case for the male client. These findings are discussed in relation to the literature suggesting that the apparent low number of male victims of sexual abuse currently being seen by the helping professions may in part be accounted for by a lack of awareness in clinicians as to the possibility that males, including their mate clients, are sexually abused.

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Accession: 008329623

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