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n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Child sexual abuse myth acceptance among helping professionals : the effect of gender and professional status
It is generally acknowledged that child sexual abuse myth acceptance among helping professionals has the potential for secondary victimisation. However, there have been few systematic attempts to explore the nature and extent of the problem. In this context, it seemed appropriate to examine the incidence of child sexual abuse myth acceptance in a representative sample of South African helping professionals (psychologists, social workers, and medical practitioners) and to identify factors that may mediate or moderate the extent of such myth acceptance.
A mail survey was used to examine the effect of gender and professional status on child sexual abuse myth acceptance in a probability sample of 165 social workers, 163 psychologists, and 156 medical practitioners. The major dependent measure used in the study was the Child Sexual Abuse Myth Scale.
The data indicates that, across all levels of the independent measures considered in the study (i.e., gender and professional status), over 90 percent of respondents reported some degree of myth acceptance. After controlling for the effects of age and professional experience, male respondents reported greater myth acceptance than females. There was also a significant main effect of profession, with mean myth acceptance scores for medical practitioners being highest, scores for psychologists being lowest, and scores for social workers falling between the extremes of the other two groups.
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