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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Project: Campus only access

Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Joseph, Rigaud


The commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is an underground yet growing social issue in the United States, with devastating short-term and long-term consequences. Social and behavioral science disciplines are likely to expose their students to CSEC content through the undergraduate or graduate education process. However, of the social and behavioral sciences, social work is the field most likely to prepare its students for working with CSEC victims. This study compares knowledge and attitude about the CSEC population between social work students and non-social work students. It was hypothesized that (1) there will be a statistically significant difference in knowledge about the CSEC population between social work students and non-social work students, and (2) social work students will have a more positive attitude toward the CSEC population as compared to their non-social work counterparts. Binary logistic regression run on a sample of 104 students (N = 104) generated results that support only the second hypothesis, as social work students reported significantly more positive

CSEC-attitude than their non-social work counterparts (OR = .063, p < .001).

Incidental findings reveal that students in California reported more knowledge about CSEC than do students in other states (OR = 14.9, p < .002). The implications of the findings in this study for theory, research, social work practice, and social work education are discussed.