ERIC Number: ED316336
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Anatomical Doll Play among Young Children: A Follow-Up of Sexual Demonstrators and Doll Avoiders.
Boat, Barbara W.; Everson, Mark D.
As one phase of an extensive research project, normative data on the anatomical doll play of 209 nonreferred 2- through 5-year-old children were collected which revealed extreme, non-normative responses among some 4- and 5-year-olds. Later, a follow-up study was conducted to investigate the consistency of non-normative behavior over time and to explore children's knowledge of genital intercourse, as well as sources of that knowledge. In the normative study, 5 percent of subjects (Demonstrators) clearly placed the dolls in intercourse positions and 8 percent (Avoiders) refused to touch the unclothed dolls. Involving 40 of the original participants, including 10 Demonstrators and 10 Avoiders, follow-up occurred 16 months after the initial study and matched Demonstrator and Avoider subjects to 20 controls on gender, race, and socioeconomic status. Findings revealed changes over time in Demonstrators' and Avoiders' behaviors that may be explained by cultural, maturational, and socialization factors. Most Demonstrators indicated that they had learned about intercourse from watching sexually explicit videos. Implications for children's testimony concerning sexual abuse and for understanding children's behaviors are explored. It is concluded that anatomical dolls can never be a definitive test of child sexual abuse, that the presence of an adult interviewer appears to have an inhibiting effect on children's exploratory behaviors with the dolls, that even 6- and 7-year-olds may need professional support in disclosing sexual abuse, and that further research is needed. (RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A