Minimizing Mistreatment by Female Adults: The Influence of Gender-Based Social Categories and Personality Differences on Attitudes about Child Sexual Abuse
We investigated the effects of gender-based social categories (i.e., men, women, boys, and girls) on attitudes about child sexual abuse and individual differences in the use of such categories. In four experiments, we systematically varied perpetrators’ sex and victims’ sex. In three investigations, we assessed personality variables potentially related to participants’ use of these social categories. Across these four experiments, we varied perpetrator-victim relationships (teacher-student, neighbors) and victims’ ages. In experiment one, individuals had the least negative attitude about child sexual abuse involving adult female neighbors and eighth grade male neighbors. In experiment two, we replicated this effect with fifth grade victims and demonstrated that attitudes were moderated by individual differences in intolerance of ambiguity. In experiment three, we again replicated the aforementioned effect while (a) extending this finding to teacher-student relationships with eighth grade adolescent victims and (b) demonstrating the need for cognition was a moderator. In experiment four, we again replicated (a) our perpetrator sex/victim sex interactive effect and (b) need for cognition moderation while also demonstrating that these effects were applicable to fifth grade victims. Methodological limitations as well as clinical and policy implications (e.g., attenuating the underreporting incidents of child sexual abuse) are discussed.
Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Leone, C., Hawkins, L.A.B., Bright, M. (2019) Minimizing Mistreatment by Female Adults: The Influence of Gender-Based Social Categories and Personality Differences on Attitudes about Child Sexual Abuse. Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied, 153(4), 361-382.