79. Children's signaling of incomprehension: The diagnosticity of practice questions during interview instructions.Child Maltreatment (Published 2021) (2020)
Forensic interviewers are routinely advised to instruct children that they should indicate when they do not understand a question. This study examined whether administering the instruction with a practice question may help interviewers identify the means by which individual children signal incomprehension. We examined 446 interviews with children questioned about abuse, including 252 interviews in which interviewers administered the instruction with a practice question (4- to 13-year-old children; M = 7.7). Older children more often explicitly referred to incomprehension when answering the practice question and throughout the interviews, whereas younger children simply requested repetition or gave “don’t know” responses, and individual children’s responses to the practice questions predicted their responses later in the interviews. Similarly, older children were more likely to seek confirmation of their understanding of interviewers’ questions and to request specification. The results highlight the need for interviewers to test and closely monitor younger children’s responses for ambiguous signs of incomprehension.
- Child Abuse,
- child testimoney,
- child witness,
- child sexual abuse,
- children's signalling,
- interview instructions
Publication DateFall October 15, 2020
Citation InformationHenderson, H.M., & Lyon, T.D. (2021). Children's signaling of incomprehension: The diagnosticity of practice questions during interview instructions. Child Maltreatment, 26(1), 95-104.