Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Specialist in Education (Ed.S.)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Norm Hamm


This study examined the effects of a child’s gender, type of suspected child abuse, and child ’s disclosure of abuse allegations on school psychologists’ likelihood of reporting. One hundred seventy Iowa certified school psychologists responded to a set of three vignettes, each depicting a suspected case of child abuse (sexual, physical, neglect). Each vignette was followed by two questions requesting respondents to rate their level of certainty of suspected abuse, and their likelihood of reporting the case to an intake agency. Also recorded were respondents' demographic background and past reporting practices. As predicted, sexual abuse was rated significantly more reportable than neglect and physical abuse, but physical abuse was not rated more reportable than neglect. Also as predicted children who verbally disclosed to an interviewer were rated significantly more reportable than those who did not disclose. There was an expected interaction effect between past reporting behavior and likelihood of reporting again. Unexpectedly, level of satisfaction with intake agencies’ handling of those reports had no effect on current reporting behavior. Suggestions are made for future research as well as implications for practicing school psychologists when dealing with child abuse situations.


A Field Project Presented to the Department of Psychology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Specialist in Education University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Stephen L. Schwiesow June, 1995