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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10373/485

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Title: Repetition of contaminating question types when children and youths with intellectual disabilities are interviewed
Authors: Cederborg, A.-C.
Danielsson, H.
La Rooy, David J.
Lamb, M. E.
Affiliation: University of Abertay Dundee. School of Social and Health Sciences
Keywords: Inconsistent reports
Investigative interviews
Learning disabilities
Repeated focused questions
Sexual abuse
Issue Date: May-2009
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Type: Journal Article
Refereed: peer-reviewed
Rights: This is the author's final version of this article. Published version (c)Wiley-Blackwell, available at DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2788.2009.01160.x. The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com. Published on behalf of MENCAP and in association with IASSID.
Citation: Cederborg, A.-C., et al. 2009. Repetition of contaminating question types when children and youths with intellectual disabilities are interviewed. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research. 53(5): pp.440-449. Available at DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2788.2009.01160.x
Abstract: Background The present study examined the effects of repeating questions in interviews investigating the possible sexual abuse of children and youths who had a variety of intellectual disabilities. We predicted that the repetition of option-posing and suggestive questions would lead the suspected victims to change their responses, making it difficult to understand what actually happened. Inconsistency can be a key factor when assessing the reliability of witnesses. Materials Case files and transcripts of investigative interviews with 33 children and youths who had a variety of intellectual disabilities were obtained from prosecutors in Sweden. The interviews involved 25 females and 9 males whose chronological ages were between 5.4 and 23.7 years when interviewed (M = 13.2 years). Results Six per cent of the questions were repeated at least once. The repetition of focused questions raised doubts about the reports because the interviewees changed their answers 40% of the time. Conclusions Regardless of the witnesses' abilities, it is important to obtain reports that are as accurate and complete as possible in investigative interviews. Because this was a field study, we did not know which responses were accurate, but repetitions of potentially contaminating questions frequently led the interviewees to contradict their earlier answers. This means that the interviewers' behaviour diminished the usefulness of the witnesses' testimony.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10373/485
ISSN: 0964-2633
Appears in Collections:Social & Health Sciences Collection

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