University of Central Florida Undergraduate Research Journal - What Is Appealing?: Sex and Racial Differences in Perceptions of the Physical Attractiveness of Women
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Methods

Participants

Participants in this study were clients in a child advocacy center serving children victimized by physical and sexual abuse or exposed to family violence. To collect participant data, the center utilizes NCATrak, a nationwide database employed by child advocacy centers that includes information regarding each allegation of abuse. Participants included clients seen in 2009 and 2010. Data for this study addresses 292 child victims of physical and sexual abuse. The average age of the victims was nine years old (SD = 4.15: range, 2-18). Fifty-four percent of victims identified as White (n = 157) and 17% Black/African American (n = 49). Two categories divided the Hispanic participants: White Hispanic/Latino and Black Hispanic/Latino. Twenty percent of victims were White Hispanic/Latino (n = 59), and Black Hispanic/Latino was 2% (n = 6). Asians were the lowest reported, with only .7% (n = 2). Female victims were the majority of clients at 64% (n = 187), with males at 36% (n = 104). Biological mothers were the primary caregiver most reported at 53% (n = 155), followed by biological fathers at 25% (n = 73), and other relatives, such as adoptive parents or grandparents, at 19% (n = 55). Fifty-five percent of primary caregivers had an income under $30,000 (n = 159) and 27% were over $30,000 (n = 79). The average of the primary caregiver's age was 38 (SD = 10.3: range, 18 to 78).

Instruments

The child advocacy center utilizes NCAtrak (National Children's Alliance, 2009) as its management information system to record data about its clients and abuse allegations. NCAtrak brings the various users of the center (i.e., Child Protective Services, law enforcement, lawyers, and county agencies) together in one system. At the agency's point of entry, staff input data into NCAtrak in one or more of the ten tabs (general information, people, multi-disciplinary team, presenting information, Child Protective Services, law enforcement, medical, forensic interview, victim advocacy program, and mental health). The general information section documents the demographics of both victim and caregiver. The people section includes a biography of the victim. The multi-disciplinary team discusses which teams were involved, such as law enforcement, community based care, and the state attorney, and how cohesively they worked. The presenting information section reviews the background information surrounding the allegation, such as where and what type of abuse occurred, and the substantiation of the allegation. The Child Protective Services and law enforcement sections record which agency initiated an investigation. If a medical examination or forensic interview becomes necessary to document evidence of abuse, the respective sections record the results of either the examination or interview. The victim advocacy program describes the therapeutic services provided by the center and reports details of the services. Finally, the mental health section specifies the victim's scores on the assessment given, the type of counseling sessions given, and session attendance. For this study, we obtained data from the various sections and imported it into SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) for analyses. The variables included: (a) victim's relationship to primary caregiver, (b) victim's gender, (c) caregiver's gender, (d) caregiver's income, (e) victim's age, and (f) caregiver's age. These demographic variables were taken from the general information section of the dataset.

Procuedures

The local child advocacy center caters to children and adults in the local region whenever abuse is alleged. Clients are referred to the advocacy center from other community resources. To begin treatment, potential clients must first be screened by one of the therapists on staff to determine if the services are appropriate to the client's needs. After passing the screening, a treatment plan is created and the client is ready to begin treatment. Prior to collecting data, the researchers requested approval from the university's Institutional Review Board (IRB) for human subjects research to conduct the study. IRB approved the study as exempt. The agency sanitized the NCAtrak data by removing all client identifying information and provided it to the research team in Microsoft Excel files. The files were merged into one Excel spreadsheet and then imported into SPSS. Four univariate analyses of variances (ANOVA) were conducted to examine the differences among family demographics, victim factors, and treatment attendance. Two linear regressions were employed to examine the relationship between victim's age and treatment attendance and to examine the relationship between caregiver's age and treatment attendance.

Results >>