Impact of the Court Process on Sexually Abused Children in North Carolina, 1983-1986 (ICPSR 9985)

Principal Investigator(s): Runyan, Desmond K.; Everson, Mark D.; Hunter, Wanda M.; King, Nancy M.P.


This data collection examines the psychological impact of judicial processes on child sexual abuse victims. More specifically, it provides information on how sexual abuse and the subsequent judicial processes affect the mental health functioning of child victims by assessing the impact of (1) additional harm to victims from out-of-home placement, (2) criminal prosecution of the offender/family member, (3) subject testimony in juvenile or criminal court, and (4) family and professional support for the children. Children were enrolled in the study at the time that social services personnel substantiated claims of sexual abuse, and they were followed for a period of 18 months. Assessments of the mental health functioning of the children were made at the time of initial investigation, five months later, and 18 months later, using a combination of self-reports, parent and teacher reports, and psychological tests. After obtaining informed consent from the parent or guardian, each child was interviewed using a structured psychiatric inventory. The specific impacts of the various judicial processes or interventions under study were examined through comparisons of subgroups of the sample that did and did not experience particular interventions. The interventions included social services investigation, court process, foster placement, and psychological therapy. Other information in the file includes the type of sexual abuse experienced, judicial interventions the child experienced, and the child's level of depression, anxiety, and social adjustment. Demographic variables include age, sex, and race.

Access Notes

  • One or more data files in this study are set up in a non-standard format, such as card image format. Users may need help converting these files before they can be used for analysis.

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


DS1:  Main Data File - Download All Files (2.672 MB)
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DS2:  SAS Control Cards - Download All Files (0.689 MB)

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Study Description


Runyan, Desmond K., Mark D. Everson, Wanda M. Hunter, and Nancy M.P. King. IMPACT OF THE COURT PROCESS ON SEXUALLY ABUSED CHILDREN IN NORTH CAROLINA, 1983-1986. Los Altos, CA: Sociometrics Corporation [producer], 1992. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium of Political and Social Research [distributor], 1993.

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (85-IJ-CX-0066)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    child abuse, children, criminal justice system, intervention, judicial process, mental health, psychological evaluation, sexual abuse, victims

Geographic Coverage:    North Carolina, United States

Time Period:   

  • 1983-12--1986-06

Date of Collection:   

  • 1983-12--1986-06

Universe:    Victims of intrafamilial sexual abuse 6 to 17 years old in North Carolina for whom substantiated claims with social services agencies were registered.

Data Type(s):    survey data, and clinical data

Data Collection Notes:

Initial data covered 100 respondents but complete 18-month data exist on only 62 subjects. Respondents who dropped out might not be comparable to those who remained in the study.


Sample:    Referrals from county social service agencies.

Data Source:

personal interviews, questionnaires, psychological testing, and social service and court reports

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.


Original ICPSR Release:   1993-05-13

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