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An examination of "don't know" responses in forensic interviews with children

Earhart,B, La Rooy,DJ, Brubacher,SP and Lamb,ME 2014, An examination of "don't know" responses in forensic interviews with children, Behavioral Sciences & the Law, vol. 32, no. 6, pp. 746-761, doi: 10.1002/bsl.2141.

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Title An examination of "don't know" responses in forensic interviews with children
Author(s) Earhart,B
La Rooy,DJ
Brubacher,SP
Lamb,ME
Journal name Behavioral Sciences & the Law
Volume number 32
Issue number 6
Start page 746
End page 761
Total pages 16
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Place of publication West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publication date 2014-11
ISSN 1099-0798
Summary Most experimental studies examining the use of pre-interview instructions (ground rules) show that children say "I don't know" more often when they have been encouraged to do so when appropriate. However, children's "don't know" responses have not been studied in more applied contexts, such as in investigative interviews. In the present study, 76 transcripts of investigative interviews with allegedly abused children revealed patterns of "don't know" responding, as well as interviewers' reactions to these responses. Instructions to say "I don't know" when appropriate did not affect the frequency with which children gave these responses. Interviewers rejected "don't know" responses nearly 30% of the time, and typically continued to ask about the same topic using more risky questions. Children often answered these follow-up questions even though they had previously indicated that they lacked the requested information. There was no evidence that "don't know" responses indicated reluctance to talk about abuse. Implications for forensic interviewers are discussed.
Language eng
DOI 10.1002/bsl.2141
Field of Research 170104 Forensic Psychology
Socio Economic Objective 920501 Child Health
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2014, Wiley
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30072252

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Psychology
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.