School psychologists' attitudes towards reporting child abuse

1988 1988

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Abstract (summary)

Research on the reporting of child abuse by various groups of professionals has shown that underreporting is a serious and extensive problem despite mandatory reporting laws. Reasons for underreporting tend to cluster into the following categories; (1) Lack of knowledge of legal issues and ramifications. (2) Lack of knowledge of the symptoms of child abuse. (3) Attitudes towards reporting abuse. (4) Stereotypes and prior conceptions about abuse may affect the individual's ability to recognise child abuse.

The present study investigated these issues as they apply to school psychologists. A questionnaire originally developed by Pelcovitz (1977) for use with teachers, was adapted for use with school psychologists. The questionnaire was also updated to include additional questions on sexual abuse. It was sent to a random sample of 50% of the school psychologists in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Long Island, New York. Forty two and a half percent of the sample returned the questionnaire (N = 128).

The vast majority of respondents reported having had the experience of suspecting that a student in their school was a victim of child abuse, and 86% of the sample indicated that they had reported at least one case of abuse. In general the group displayed adequate awareness of their basic legal obligations in dealing with abused children.

Although the results of this survey often suggested a fair amount of knowledge about child abuse on the part of the psychologists, it became apparent that certain issues presented greater conflict for them and that many respondents were unaware of the importance of certain signs and symptoms of abuse. Thus further areas of training were suggested. The need for specific training in the area of child abuse was also suggested by the fact that approximately half of the sample felt that their training in this area had been inadequate.

Indexing (details)

Social psychology;
Academic guidance counseling;
0451: Social psychology
0519: Academic guidance counseling
0622: Psychotherapy
Identifier / keyword
Education; Psychology
School psychologists' attitudes towards reporting child abuse
Meyers, Marion
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-B 51/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Ward, Alfred
Pace University
University location
United States -- New York
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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