Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology


The purpose of this study was twofold. The first goal was to explore the relationship between the variables of age, sexual abuse, and the identity of the sexual offender upon the concept of God in children ages six through twelve. The second was to add to the literature regarding the assessment of the concept of God in children with an objective semantic differential scale instrument.

The sample consisted of 53 children from day care, church, and outpatient therapy settings. Nonabused children were divided on the basis of age (six through eight and nine through twelve). Sexually abused children were divided on the basis of age and identity of offender (father figure, nonfather family member, and nonfamily acquaintance). Materials used included a semantic differential scale which consisted of twelve items measuring perceptions of God on a seven point scale.

Data analysis using analysis of variance and the computation of a coeffieient alpha indicated that the instrument used displayed an acceptable level of internal reliability but that the groups of children separated by age, sexual abuse, and identity of offender did not differ significantly from each other, aside from one statistically significant interaction between a ge and identity of of fender on one item (dull/sharp ). Possible reasons for the lack of differentiation were discussed including cognitive developmental stages, limitations of the instrument, demand characteristics, and limitations of the sample.

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