Behavioral problems in alleged sexual abuse victims

Roberta A. Hibbard, Georgia L. Hartman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


This study was conducted to compare the parental assessments of problem behaviors, using the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist, among alleged sexual abuse victims (n = 81) and an age, race, and gender matched group of nonabused comparison subjects (n = 90). Alleged sexual abuse victims demonstrated significantly higher mean total behavior problem, internalizing and externalizing scores than the comparison sample. Subscale profiles were all in the direction consistent with withdrawal, impairment in social interaction, and sexual problems. Item comparison indicated that sexual abuse victims were more likely to be assessed as having some problem behaviors that have been reported as being indicative of sexual abuse. A significant difference was not obtained on several behaviors that have been previously reported as indicative of sexual abuse. These findings support concerns that sexual abuse victims do exhibit more problem behaviors, but caution must be exercised when interpreting individual behaviors because of their frequency in a nonabused sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)755-762
Number of pages8
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992


  • Behavior
  • Sexual abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Law
  • Sociology and Political Science

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