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Volume 11 - 2020

The Creation and Inflation of Prevalence Statistics: The Case of “Conversion Therapy”, pages 66-86          



Christopher H. Rosik, Ph.D. Link Care Center & Fresno Pacific University


In this review, I offer a critical analysis of the Williams Institute’s Generations Survey and the National Center for Transgender Equality’s United States Transgender Survey. On the basis of these surveys, claims are being forwarded that hundreds of thousands of minors and adults have been exposed to the torturous practices of “conversion therapy” and tens of thousands more are in imminent danger of suffering that fate. However, non-specific single-items in the Generations Study and the U.S. Transgender Survey are being misused to support non-specific restrictions on professional therapy. The methodological limitations of these surveys have likely resulted in the inflation of “conversion therapy” prevalence statistics and a serious distortion in the public’s understanding of this topic. These statistics can hardly be considered a scientifically responsible basis for legal prohibitions on client-centered, professional change-allowing and fluidityexploring talk therapies. The Williams Institute, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and scholars utilizing their data are not living up to claims of ideological independence and scientific rigor.


Keywords: Conversion therapy, prevalence rates, Williams Institute, National Center for Transgender Equality, survey misuse

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