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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/handle/2438/2624

Title: The characteristics of sexual abuse in sport: A multidimensional scaling analysis of events described in media reports
Authors: Brackenridge, CH
Bishop, DT
Moussali, S
Tapp, J
Keywords: sport sexual abuse, media reports
Publication Date: 2008
Series/Report no.: 2008;
Abstract: Most research on sexual abuse has been conducted within family settings (Fergusson & Mullen, 1999). In recent years, following several high profile convictions and scandals, research into sexual abuse has also encompassed institutional and community settings such as sport and the church (Gallagher, 2000; Wolfe et al., 2003). Research into sexual abuse in sport, for example, began with both prevalence studies (Kirby & Greaves, 1996; Leahy, Pretty & Tenenbaum, 2002) and qualitative analyses of the processes and experiences of athlete sexual abuse (Brackenridge, 1997; Cense & Brackenridge, 2001, Toftegaard Nielsen, 2001). From such work, descriptions of the modus operandi of abusers in sport, and the experiences and consequences for athlete victims, have been provided, informing both abuse prevention work and coach education. To date, however, no study has provided empirical support for multiple associations or identified patterns of sex offending in sport in ways that might allow comparisons with research-generated models of offending outside sport. This paper reports on an analysis of 159 cases of criminally defined sexual abuse, reported in the print media over a period of 15 years. The main aim of the study was to identify the nature of sex offending in sport focusing on the methods and locations of offences. The data were analysed using multidimensional scaling (MDS), as a data reduction method, in order to identify the underlying themes within the abuse and explore the inter-relationships of behaviour, victim and context variables. The findings indicate that there are specific themes that can be identified within the perpetrator strategies that include ‘intimate’, ‘aggressive’, and ‘’dominant’ modes of interaction. The same patterns that are described here within the specific context of sport are consistent with themes that emerge from similar behavioural analyses of rapists (Canter & Heritage, 1990; Bishopp, 2003) and child molester groups (Canter, Hughes & Kirby, 1998). These patterns show a correspondence to a broader behavioural model – the interpersonal circumplex (e.g., Leary 1957). Implications for accreditation and continuing professional education of sport psychologists are noted.
URI: http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/handle/2438/2624
ISSN: 1612-197X International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Appears in Collections:School of Sport and Education Research Papers
Sport Sciences

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