Rind et al

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Rind et al, or the Rind Report is the common name given to a study by Bruce Rind, Department of Psychology Temple University, Philip Tromovitch, Graduate School of Education Temple University and Robert Bauserman, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan entitled A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples published in The Psychological Bulletin of the American Psychological Association, April 1999.

Reaction to the Rind Report

This study generated a large amount of controversy, first by conservative talk show hosts such as "Dr." Laura Schlessinger, but later spread through political circles to the US Congress where it was "condemned and denounced" by a unanimous vote of 355-0 (with 13 voting "present") on July 12, 1999.[1]

However, pressed to justify itself, the APA submitted the meta-analysis to yet another round of scientific peer-review and study by statisticians who drew the following conclusion:

"Ray Fowler, Ph. D., writes at May 25, representing the APA: "Because the article has attracted so much attention, we have carefully reviewed the process by which it was approved for publication and the soundness of the methodology and analysis. This study passed the journal's rigorous peer review process and has, since the controversy, been reviewed again by an expert in statistical analysis who affirmed that it meets current standards and that the methodology, which is widely used by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop guidelines, is sound."

In addition, a number of press releases and rebuttals surfaced offering a variety of reasons why the study should be repudiated. The author, and others countered these rebuttals.

The study itself

It set about to investigate how previous research, taken as a collective, addresses these common assumptions:

  • Child sexual abuse (CSA) causes psychological harm,
  • this harm is pervasive,
  • this harm is intense, and
  • boys and girls experience CSA equivalently.

The authors undertook this through a meta-analysis, correlating the statistics from all known studies of CSA known to exist in the English language that use college samples.


"Many lay persons and professionals believe that child sexual abuse (CSA) causes intense harm, regardless of gender, pervasively in the general population. The authors examined this belief by reviewing 59 studies based on college samples. Meta-analyses revealed that students with CSA were, on average, slightly less well adjusted than controls. However, this poorer adjustment could not be attributed to CSA because family environment (FE) was consistently confounded with CSA, FE explained considerably more adjustment variance than CSA, and CSA-adjustment relations generally became non-significant when studies controlled for FE. Self-reported reactions to and effects from CSA indicated that negative effects were neither pervasive nor typically intense, and that men reacted much less negatively than women. The college data were completely consistent with data from national samples. Basic beliefs about CSA in the general population were not supported." [quoted directly from the paper]

Findings with respect to causality

"The finding that family environment was confounded with CSA and explained nine times more adjustment variance than did CSA is consistent with the possibility that the CSA-adjustment relation may not reflect genuine effects of CSA [...] analysis of studies that used statistical control further supported the possibility that many or most CSA-symptom relations do not reflect true effects of CSA, because most CSA-adjustment relations became nonsignificant under statistical control." [quoted directly from the paper]

Gender gap (or absence of)

"The overall difference between male and female college students in the CSA-adjustment relationship is not surprising, because men experienced coercion less frequently than women. [...] "Because all levels of consent corresponds to social and legal definitions of CSA, these results imply that, in the college population, the association between CSA and adjustment problems is not equivalent for men and women. If the definition of CSA is restricted to unwanted sex only, however, then these results imply a gender equivalence between men and women in the association between CSA and adjustment problems."


See also

External links