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01Sep09l Rind at APS

At the program "Unpopular Results: Providing Incremental Validity at the Price of Being Rejected" presented at the 2001 edition of the annual meeting of the "American Psychological Society" in Toronto, Bruce Rind discussed the treatment of the 1998 meta-analysis. Nothing new, but still noteworthy as it shows that RBT continue to get a fair hearing in a number of scientific forums.

From [Link expired]

"Bruce Rind, of Temple University, discussed "The Importance of Skeptical Inquiry into Assumptions about Child Sexual Abuse, and the Costly Consequences for this Inquiry." He too spoke about being on the receiving end of backlash for inquiry into CSA. In fact, the fallout in his case has been more public and extreme than in most. Rind's research began as an investigation of the assumption that CSA is a uniquely devastating experience, even for consenting teenagers. This assumption undergirded much of the work on recovered memory and multiple personality disorder in the late 1970s-80s, two areas where science and non-science have frequently collided.

"With colleagues, Rind presented a review paper that improved in several ways on earlier papers, finding this assumption to be overstated, and that while all child abuse is damaging, the nature and effects of the damage can vary depending on the age of the victim. [I doubt if this is an accurate representation of what Rind said. If I interpret correctly, the meta-analysis remarks that in the absence of more specific research, "age" has not been shown to be a statistically significant moderator of the effects of CSA. Am I wrong? --C.] Ideally, this conclusion could be an important advance in our understanding of the effects and potential treatment of child abuse.

"But instead of entering a scholarly debate, Rind's article became the focus of a widespread and angry campaign against his work, which had passed the rigorous review board of the journal Psychological Bulletin. It all started when some fringe groups misstated Rind et al's conclusions to serve their own interests. Subsequently, these misstated interpretations were broadcast by popular radio host "Dr. Laura" Schlesinger, who condemned the Rind piece in part because she was not familiar with meta-analysis, the statistical technique used by Rind and colleagues to review earlier studies. "I've never heard of this in science," she said. (Side note: Dr. Laura must not be aware that pooling results in one form or another is how just about all progress occurs in science.)

"The publicity generated by Dr. Laura and others reached members of the U.S. House of Representatives, most notably majority whip Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX). The result was censure by the House and turmoil for the journal review process. According to Rind, political pressure led to an unprecedented second round of review for an already published article. Rind says that the reverberations from this controversy are continuing, and that undue consideration of the political implications of otherwise scientifically sound articles may delay or prevent publication of those articles, an approach which Rind characterizes as antiscientific."


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