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J Consult Clin Psychol. 1992 Apr;60(2):196-203.

Methodological issues in the study of sexual abuse effects.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles 90033.


Despite its relative infancy, child abuse research has provided a substantial literature on the psychological sequelae of sexual molestation. These findings have been helpful in informing social policy and guiding mental health practice. Because of the recency of interest in this area, however, as well as the costs and time investment associated with more rigorous longitudinal research, many of these studies have used correlational designs and retrospective reports of abuse. The implications of this methodology are outlined, and remedies are suggested where possible.

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