Differential effects of general versus cued invitations on children’s reports of a repeated event episode

The ability to describe individual episodes of repeated events (such as ongoing abuse) can enhance children’s testimony and assist the progression of their cases through the legal system. Open-ended prompts have been advocated as a means to assist children in accurately retrieving information about...

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Published in:Psychology, crime & law
Main Author: Danby, Meaghan C. (Author)
Other Authors: Brubacher, Sonja P. (Author); Powell, Martine B.; Roberts, Kim P.; Sharman, Stefanie J.
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Published: 2017
In:Psychology, crime & law
Year: 2017, Volume: 23, Issue: 8, Pages: 794-811
Online Access: Volltext (Resolving-System)
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Summary:The ability to describe individual episodes of repeated events (such as ongoing abuse) can enhance children’s testimony and assist the progression of their cases through the legal system. Open-ended prompts have been advocated as a means to assist children in accurately retrieving information about individual episodes. In the current study, two subtypes of open-ended prompts (cued and general invitations) were compared for their effects on five- to nine-year-olds’ (n = 203) reports about individual episodes of a repeated event. Interviews occurred 1-2 weeks after the last of 4 event sessions. Cued invitations assisted children to provide specific details about individual episodes of a repeated event, while general invitations were useful to elicit more broad happenings of the episodes. The accuracy of responses to general invitations was similar for children of all ages up to one week after the event, but at a longer interview delay younger children were less accurate than older children. There were no differences in the accuracy of responses to cued invitations as a function of age or interview delay. Results suggest that interviewers tasked with eliciting accounts of individual episodes from a repeated event, such as ongoing abuse, should consider the differential efficacy of each prompt-type on children’s reports.
ISSN:1477-2744
DOI:10.1080/1068316X.2017.1324028