Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Malcolm Robertson

Second Advisor

Dr. Chris Koronakos

Third Advisor

Dr. Michele Burnette

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Ed Trembley


This study compared certain personal characteristics and behaviors of sexually abused girls with those of matched controls. Experimental subjects were 49 girls, aged 6 to 16 years, who had been sexually abused by an older male family member. Fifty girls who had not experienced sexual abuse served as the comparison group, matched on the basis of age, race and socioeconomic status.

Demographic and psychological measures were completed by each research participant and her mother. Videotapes were made of an initial session in which each child met an unknown male tester.

This study hypothesized and affirmed that sexually abused girls appeared older, more personally attractive and more flirtatious than nonabused girls. Problem sexual behaviors were also reported to be higher for sexually abused subjects than for controls, as hypothesized. Contrary to the initial hypothesis, no significant differences in physical attractiveness or in pubertal development were found between the two groups of girls.

Finally, as was hypothesized, this study did find that flirtatiousness correlated with age in distinctively different patterns for the sexually abused girls and those girls who had not been abused.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access