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Books, Journals, New Media
June 22/29, 2005

Sexual Abuse

Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; Journal Review Editor: Brenda L. Seago, MLS, MA, Medical College of Virginia Campus, Virginia Commonwealth University.

JAMA. 2005;293(24):3107-3112. doi:10.1001/jama.293.24.3110

The ways of sociologists differ from those of physicians (and biologists and other “hard” scientists), so readers of JAMA might be impatient with or even confused by the premise of Accounts of Innocence. Physicians typically think that their beliefs (eg, antibiotic A is better than antibiotic B for treating a particular infection) and belief systems (eg, some diseases are caused by bacteria and viruses) are based on data that have been properly collected through controlled experiments. Sociologists, however, think that some beliefs—even in medicine—are not based on research data at all but are simply opinions expressed in the media or by influential spokespersons, which are adopted by both the general public and the professional community. To bluntly state the sociological perspective, medical beliefs are part science and part contemporary myth and legend.

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