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Children's reporting patterns after witnessing homicidal violence - the effect of repeated experience and repeated interviews
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2014 (English)In: Psychology, Crime and Law, ISSN 1068-316X, Vol. 20, no 5, 407-429 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

For both legal and clinical purposes, it is of importance to study children's memories and reports of stressful events. The present study investigated the reporting patterns of 83 children who had witnessed homicidal violence, which is considered to be a highly stressful experience. More specifically, we explored the possible effects of prior violence exposure and of repeated questioning on the amount of details reported. Results showed that the majority of children provided detailed reports about the homicidal violence they had witnessed, including details concerning what happened before, during, and after the violent act. The children provided detailed and vivid testimonies from their experiences, whether they witnessed the event for the first time or had prior experience of witnessing severe violence against the victim by the perpetrator. Children with no prior experience of repeated violence who underwent repeated interviews provided more details than those interviewed once. The present data indicate that children are competent witnesses when questioned in legal contexts after having been exposed to extremely stressful events. These findings have implications for research related to children's memories and reporting of traumatic experiences, as well as practical implications for future treatment and evaluation of children's testimonies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 20, no 5, 407-429 p.
Keyword [en]
repeated exposure, children's memory and reports, homicidal violence, repeated interviews
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-104119DOI: 10.1080/1068316X.2013.793337ISI: 000334722600001OAI: diva2:721018


Available from: 2014-06-03 Created: 2014-06-03 Last updated: 2014-06-03Bibliographically approved

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Azad, AzadeChristianson, Sven-Åke
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