Date of Award

12-1996

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Department

Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. James Croteau

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Betz

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Wait

Abstract

One hundred and twenty-five doctoral level psychologists interning at university counseling centers throughout North America were surveyed to explore the association of therapists' suspicion of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) in adult client cases with five therapist characteristics: (a) gender; (b) having or not having had personal therapy; (c) having or not having professional experience with three or more clients who are survivors of CSA; (d) having or not having a close friend, family member, or significant other who is a survivor of CSA; and (e) being or not being a survivor of CSA.

Information was collected on interns' demographics and their five therapist characteristics using a questionnaire, the Therapist's Data Sheet. The Sensitivity Test of Clinical Issues (STOCI) was used to collect information on interns' suspicion of CSA in clinical vignettes. This instrument. created specifically for the current research. consists often clinical vignettes. A list of 12 clinical issues follows each vignette from which participants circle the issues they suspect are most important to conceptualizing the case present in the vignette. Five of the vignettes are designed to suggest, but not openly state, CSA Five of the vignettes are designed not to suggest CSA.

The STOCI went through a process of development which included: a pre-pilot, an assessment by expert raters. and a pilot test. At the end of this process, the STOCI was deemed to have face and content validity and sufficient reliability for the current research; however, when used in the survey the STOCI had less reliability. In the analyses of the STOCI scores across the five therapist characteristics, only gender was associated with & statistically significant difference. That is, female interns were more accurate in their suspicion of CSA while males tended to miss the suggested CSA more often. There was no evidence that male or female participants inaccurately suspect CSA in cases with no history of CSA. Finally, the similarity in the STOCI scores of interns who were and were not survivors of CSA support Follette, Polusny and Milbeck's (1994) findings that having a history of CSA is not associated with professionals' clinical behaviors.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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