Effects of Administering Sexually Explicit Questionnaires on Anger, Anxiety, and Depression in Sexually Abused and Non Abused Females: Implications for Risk Assessment

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Human sexuality researchers and institutional review boards often are concerned about the sensitive nature of the information that they obtain and whether this type of research increases the psychological risks to participants. To date, there are almost no empirical data that address this issue. We administered state and trait measures of anger, anxiety, and depression to 207 females who were administered four questionnaires that asked them to reveal highly sensitive, sexually explicit information, including questions regarding childhood sexual abuse. Then they were readministered the state and trait measures of distress.We found no significant differences, even among those who reported being sexually abused as children, suggesting that such studies do not significantly increase the risk of psychological harm to participants.

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Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, v. 32, issue 2, p. 161-172