Genitalia in human figure drawings: Childrearing practices and child sexual abuse

Roberta Hibbard, Georgia Hartman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

To replicate and explore the associations of drawing genitalia on a human figure, child-rearing practices, and a history of alleged sexual abuse, we designed a cross-sectional study of 109 alleged child sexual abuse victims, ages 3 through 8 years, and a group of 109 comparison children matched for age, sex, race, and socioeconomic status but with no history of abuse. A standardized format was used to collect drawings, administer the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, and gather background data on medical, developmental, and child-rearing issues. Seven alleged sexual abuse victims and one comparison child spontaneously drew genitalia (p=0.02, one-tailed Fisher Exact Test, estimated relative risk 7.96). No differences in drawing maturity (Draw-A-Man score) were identified, although Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test scores were higher in comparison children (82.1 vs. 91.0, p<0.01). Neither drawing genitalia nor history of alleged sexual abuse were significantly associated with histories of medical problems, enuresis, encopresis, urinary tract infection, or child-rearing practices related to sleeping, nudity, bathing, sexual abuse education, or exposure to sexually explicit materials. The similar patterns of child-rearing practices in both samples should make professionals cautious in attributing allegations of abuse to specific child-rearing practices. This study confirms our previous report that the presence of genitalia spontaneously drawn on a child's drawing of a human figure is associated with alleged sexual abuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)822-828
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Volume116
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1990

Fingerprint

Child Rearing
Sexual Child Abuse
Genitalia
Sex Offenses
Human Body
Language Tests
Encopresis
Enuresis
Urinary Tract Infections
Social Class
Cross-Sectional Studies
Education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

Cite this

Genitalia in human figure drawings : Childrearing practices and child sexual abuse. / Hibbard, Roberta; Hartman, Georgia.

In: Journal of Pediatrics, Vol. 116, No. 5, 1990, p. 822-828.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hibbard, Roberta ; Hartman, Georgia. / Genitalia in human figure drawings : Childrearing practices and child sexual abuse. In: Journal of Pediatrics. 1990 ; Vol. 116, No. 5. pp. 822-828.
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