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J Child Sex Abus. 2013;22(5):552-71. doi: 10.1080/10538712.2013.800937.

The relationship between knowledge and child and caregiver distress during the medical examination for child sexual abuse.

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National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina 29425, USA.


When child sexual abuse is suspected, a child sexual abuse-related medical examination is recommended to ensure the child's well-being. While the extant research has sought to identify factors influencing child distress during this examination, only recently have studies began examining variables that may be directly associated with the child or with the medical setting. Knowledge of the child sexual abuse-related medical examination is one medical-related variable that has been implicated in child and caregiver distress during the examination. The current study contributes to the existing literature by investigating associations among examination knowledge in relation to caregiver and child anxiety at the time of a child sexual abuse-related medical examination, taking into account ethnicity, past child abuse, injury to child as result of abuse, and caregiver response to disclosure. Sixty-eight children and their nonoffending caregiver were assessed. Results indicated that understanding of the examination and caregiver response to disclosure were significantly associated with caregiver and child anxiety.

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