Korean nurses' perceptions of child sexual abuse

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Lee, Chung Mee Ko
Major Professor
Craig M. Allen
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Human Development and Family Studies

The Department of Human Development and Family Studies focuses on the interactions among individuals, families, and their resources and environments throughout their lifespans. It consists of three majors: Child, Adult, and Family Services (preparing students to work for agencies serving children, youth, adults, and families); Family Finance, Housing, and Policy (preparing students for work as financial counselors, insurance agents, loan-officers, lobbyists, policy experts, etc); and Early Childhood Education (preparing students to teach and work with young children and their families).


The Department of Human Development and Family Studies was formed in 1991 from the merger of the Department of Family Environment and the Department of Child Development.

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  • College of Human Sciences (parent college)
  • Department of Child Development (predecessor)
  • Department of Family Environment (predecessor)

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Child sexual abuse has been a serious societal concern in the United States for some time. In Korea, the problem of child sexual abuse is just now being recognized as a serious issue. Increased awareness of the problem in Korea has led to increased emphasis on its prevention and intervention. Clarifying the definition of child sexual abuse is needed as a first step before efforts can begin to solve this serious social problem. Korean nurses occupy a very strategic position in working with child sexual abuse and its victims, since they may be the first individuals to have opportunity to recognize abuse victims;The goal of this study is to identify characteristics of Korean nurse perceptions about the definition of child sexual abuse. Specifically, it is to examine to what extent various characteristics of child sexual abuse and various background characteristics of nurses affect Korean nurses' perceptions about the seriousness of child sexual abuse incidents;Korean registered nurses, consisting of 503 hospital nurses and 526 school nurses, comprised the sample in this study. A total of 1,102 questionnaires were distributed, of which 1,030 were returned. Of these, one questionnaire was eliminated because of missing data, leaving a total of 1,029 questionnaires that were coded and entered for analysis;A vignette design was used to assess Korean nurses' perceptions of child sexual abuse. Seven variables were organized in the 64 vignettes using a one-fourth fractional factorial design for this study. Respondents were given randomly selected and ordered samples of 16 of the 64 relevant vignettes. Respondents were asked to indicate the degree of seriousness of the sexual abuse situation portrayed in the vignettes. Seriousness ranged on a continuum from 0 "Not sexual abuse" to 9 "Extremely serious sexual abuse.";Characteristics of the child sexual abuse incidents that were focused upon included intrusiveness of sexual act, frequency of sexual act, age of victim, victim resistance, age of perpetrator, gender of perpetrator, and the relationship of perpetrator to the child. Nurses' background variables included professional affiliation and other demographic factors, exposure to media about child sexual abuse, and past history of childhood sexual victimization. Respondents rated the seriousness of child sexual abuse incidents in each of the vignettes included in their questionnaires;Results of logistic regression analyses of the vignette characteristics indicated that the intrusiveness of the sexual act has the greatest impact on the perceived seriousness of child sexual abuse, followed by victim resistance, cross-gender combinations of victim and perpetrator, and frequency of sexual act. Logistic regression analyses for the nurse background characteristics suggested that respondent characteristics play a significantly smaller role in perceptions of seriousness of child sexual abuse by Korean nurses. Only media exposure to child sexual abuse issues had prominent effect on the perceived seriousness of child sexual abuse;The findings suggested that the characteristics of the child sexual abuse incidents are the primary influence on the perception of the seriousness of child sexual abuse, not the characteristics of the Korean nurses;Implications for this study are discussed.

Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 1999