To see or not to see a sexually abused child in a picture.
This study investigated how social understandings influence, and often obscure, individual perception. As a replication ofLindblom's (2002) study conducted in Sweden, the aim of this project was to investigate how individuals, studying towards a health care degree such as psychology, handle the occurrence of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) when presented with it. To this end, participants were presented with a picture designed to represent CSA and were asked to interpret the nature of the picture. Following this, participants completed the Child Sexual Abuse Myth Scale (CSAMS) which served to highlight whether the three predominant social stereotypes surrounding CSA, namely, Blame Diffusion, Denial of Abusiveness and Restrictive Stereotypes, were influential in the interpretations participants offered surrounding the picture representing CSA. It was discovered that participants who scored significantly higher on the myth scale for the myths, Denial of Abusiveness and Restrictive Stereotypes, were more likely to misinterpret CSA when presented with it.