The effect of using trained versus untrained adult respondents in simulated practice interviews about child abuse

Powell, Martine B., Fisher, Ronald P. and Hughes-Scholes, Carolyn H. 2008, The effect of using trained versus untrained adult respondents in simulated practice interviews about child abuse, Child abuse & neglect, vol. 32, no. 11, pp. 1007-1016, doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2008.05.005.

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Title The effect of using trained versus untrained adult respondents in simulated practice interviews about child abuse
Author(s) Powell, Martine B.ORCID iD for Powell, Martine B.
Fisher, Ronald P.
Hughes-Scholes, Carolyn H.
Journal name Child abuse & neglect
Volume number 32
Issue number 11
Start page 1007
End page 1016
Total pages 10
Publisher Pergamon
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 2008-11
ISSN 0145-2134
Keyword(s) investigative interviewing
child protective services
child sexual abuse
Summary Objective
A single study tested the hypothesis that simulated practice interviews for investigative interviewers of children are more effective when the role of the child respondent is played by trained actors (i.e., postgraduate psychology students) than untrained fellow participants (i.e., child protection workers).
The interviewers included 50 child protection service workers. Each interviewer received instruction in the use of open-ended questions and then engaged in two simulated practice interviews. The role of the child respondent in the practice interviews was played by either a trained psychology student or an untrained fellow participant. The key outcome measure was the proportion of open-ended questions, which was assessed immediately prior to and after the practice sessions, as well as 12 weeks post-training.
Interviewers who had practiced with trained actors had higher post-training performance (M = .83, SD = .12) compared to those who had practiced with untrained fellow participants (M = .73, SD = .13, p < .05), even at the 12-week follow up (M actors = .66, SD = .25; M untrained actors = .49, SD = .23, p < .05).
Training programs that make better use of practice opportunities (e.g., by using trained respondents) will be more effective in improving the performance of investigative interviewers.
Practice implications
A single study investigated the relative effectiveness of two simulated practice exercises for professionals who interview children about abuse. This research is relevant to professionals who design investigative interviewer training programs because it indicates that practical exercises, which are currently chosen on an ‘ad hoc’ or convenience basis, can vary markedly in their effectiveness in encouraging adherence to open questions.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.chiabu.2008.05.005
Field of Research 170199 Psychology not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
HERDC collection year 2008
Copyright notice ©2008, Pergamon Press
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Psychology
Higher Education Research Group
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