Sociology, Department of


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This is an electronic version of an article published in Journal of Child Sexual Abuse 18 (2009), pp. 513–531; doi: 10.1080/10538710903183360 Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Used by permission.


This study investigated risk factors for discrepant reporting of physical and sexual abuse among 172 homeless young adults. Discrepant reporting includes situations in which a respondent denies experiencing abuse in general but reports being a victim of specific forms of maltreatment. The results revealed that discrepant reporting rates tended to be highest for minor physical assault and for noncontact sexual abuse. Multivariate results revealed that demographic characteristics were important correlates of both discrepant physical and sexual abuse reporters. Family background characteristics also played a role in discrepant reporting for physical abuse. Overall, some young people with abuse histories are not adequately labeling their maltreatment experiences and, as a result, may not be receiving the necessary treatment.

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