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Am J Psychother. 1992 Oct;46(4):556-70.

False sexual-abuse allegations by children and adolescents: contextual factors and clinical subtypes.

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Developmental Disabilities Research Program, Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Boston 02115.


The authors review the empirical literature concerning the frequency of false allegations of sexual abuse as well as the case report literature that describes individual episodes of false allegations in detail. The authors then construct a clinical typology that is derived from the literature and their own clinical experience with similar cases. The specific subtypes of the typology are: (1) False allegation in the context of a custody dispute, (2) false allegations resulting from psychological disturbance on the part of the accuser, (3) false allegation as a conscious manipulation by the child or adolescent and, (4) false allegations based on iatrogenic factors. Clinical examples of each subtype are presented. The case material presented and reviewed indicates the importance of attending to the contextual factors surrounding the allegation and pursuing a detailed comprehensive evaluation that is as free of bias as possible.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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