Child Sexual Abuse and the Moralization of Purity

Mattan D. Arden, Sharon Rabinovitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent studies were able to associate disgust with the moral domain of purity, as well as a heightened sensitivity to disgust with sexual victimization. However, no empirical evidence has yet to document the exact relation between sexual victimization and its impact on the moralization of purity. Therefore, the present study aimed to examine the relationship between child sexual abuse (CSA) and the moral domain of purity, by means of judgments toward three different types of disgust: pathogen, sexual and moral. To test this, The Three Domains of Disgust Scale (TDDS) was given to both CSA participants (n = 29) and to a non-sexually abused population (N-SAP; n = 31). Results have shown a statistically significant difference between the CSA and N-SAP groups on the combined dependent variables (i.e., pathogen, sexual and moral disgust). However, only the sexual disgust domain, out of the other two domains has been found to hold significance. Furthermore, consistent with previous empirical findings, similar gender patterns of moral judgments have been found between the two groups (i.e., CSA and N-SAP), though with a statistical significance only in the sexual domain. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-716
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Child Sexual Abuse
Issue number6
StatePublished - 17 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Taylor & Francis.


  • Child sexual abuse
  • disgust
  • moralization
  • purity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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