Methodological issues in child sexual abuse research

Child Abuse Negl. 1989;13(1):89-100. doi: 10.1016/0145-2134(89)90032-x.


The amount of research concerning the prevalence and consequences of child sexual abuse has increased dramatically during the past decade. Too little attention has been paid to possible methodological influences on this research. This investigation reports on the influences of response rate, ordering of questions, and definition of child sexual abuse on the results of a survey of college students' childhood and adolescent sexual experiences. Response rates affected prevalence rate estimates, and the use of varying definitions of child sexual abuse affected estimates of both prevalence and consequences. The importance of the awareness of these methodological issue in future research efforts is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / epidemiology*
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Tests
  • Research