The Relationship between Social Dominance Orientation and Child Sexual Abuse Credibility Assessment

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Allegations of child sexual abuse (CSA) across various contexts have often been denied or ignored by a multitude of people, including those who do not personally know the alleged perpetrators or victims. The lack of belief of children’s CSA reports is problematic, as this may affect the child’s adjustment, the consequences for the alleged perpetrator, and the likelihood of other victims reporting abuse that they experienced. One plausible explanation for low credibility is the variable of social dominance orientation. In the current study, a diverse sample (N = 60) read a hypothetical vignette of a CSA allegation, rated the credibility of the child, and completed the Social Dominance Orientation-7 scale (SDO-7). Results supported that high social dominance orientation predicts low credibility ratings of the child’s CSA allegation. Findings may impact how clinicians and investigators approach the assessment of credibility of CSA allegations, how they appraise the opinions of others about such credibility, and jury selection in the court system.

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Journal of Child Sexual Abuse

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