Many devices are used in child assessment and treatment as communication aids, projective tools, and symbolic means of interaction. None are as hotly debated in their application among mental health professionals as dolls with genital details. Anatomically detailed (AD) dolls are often used in sexual-abuse evaluation and treatment with children, but such applications are controversial. This article is the product of a working group formed to review AD doll research and practice. This article reviews historical use of dolls in clinical inquiry and research on sexual behaviors in children, normative use of AD dolls in nonreferred children, differences in children's play behavior and emotional reactions to AD dolls, and memory and suggestibility issues relating to AD-doll use. Recommendations for future research are provided.
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