A critique of the validity of polygraph testing in child sexual abuse cases

Theodore P. Cross, Leonard Saxe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The present paper examines the problematic application of polygraph testing to child sexual abuse cases. Psychophvsio- logical methods to assess the veracity of child sexual abuse allegations are being advocated despite a failure of empirical research to support the validity of polygraph testing and the absence of adequate validity studies for its application to child sexual abuse. The use of polygraph testing in child sexual abuse matters is especially problematic because of the nature of sexual abuse. Processes associated with the offender’s perception of events, emotional arousal associated with investigations, and base rates of sexual abuse all suggest problems with the use of polygraph testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-34
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Child Sexual Abuse
Volume1
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 14 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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