Childhood Sexual Experiences:
Problems and Issues in Studying Long-Range Effects
Allie C. Kilpatrick [* note]
The Journal of Sex Research Vol,23, No.2, pp.173-196, May, 1987
Existing studies of the long-range consequences of childhood
sexual experiences are marred by problems which render many of their findings
useless. A review of the literature reveals the
methodological problems ~ of the definition of terms, sampling methods, and
measures of consequences.
Until recently, little emphasis had been placed on the study of long-range effects of childhood sexual experiences. With the current high level of societal interest in incest and sexual abuse of children, it is important that more attention be given to researching the implications of various childhood sexual experiences.
In order to identify problems and issues in the study of long-range effects of childhood sexual experiences, I reviewed 34 research studies which report on or attempt to account for long-range effects. These 34 studies do not constitute a comprehensive review of all studies on childhood sexual experiences. The review is selective in that it only deals with research concerned with the long-range outcome of such experiences. Also, single case reports, and literature reviews, which dealt primarily with offenders, epidemiology , or treatment are not included. Methodological problems in studying long-range effects are presented first, followed by a review and analysis of the literature.
Allie C, Kilpatrick, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the
School of Social Work at the University of Georgia.