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Does Information About Neuropsychiatric Diagnoses Influence Evaluation of Child Sexual Abuse Allegations?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Law, Department of Law.
2016 (English)In: Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, ISSN 1053-8712, E-ISSN 1547-0679, Vol. 25, no 3, 276-292 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study aimed at investigating if attitudes toward children with neuropsychiatric disorders influence evaluations concerning allegations of child sexual abuse. Law students (n = 107) at Stockholm University, Sweden, were presented a transcript of a mock police interview with a girl, 11 years of age. This interview was based on a real case, selected as a “typical” example from these years concerning contributions from the interviewer and the alleged victim. After having read the transcript, the students responded to a questionnaire concerning degree of credibility, if the girl talked about events that had really occurred, richness of details, and if the narrations were considered truthful and age-adequate. Fifty-four of the students were also told that the girl had been given the diagnoses of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and Asperger syndrome. Students who were informed about the diagnoses gave significantly lower scores concerning credibility of the interviewee. To a lesser degree they regarded her narrations as expressions of what had really occurred and considered her statements less truthful. Furthermore, they found that the narrations contained fewer details. Finally, they found the girl less competent to tell about abuse. We conclude that a neuropsychiatric disorder may infer risks of unjustified skeptical attitudes concerning trustworthiness and cognitive capacity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 25, no 3, 276-292 p.
Keyword [en]
assessment, evaluation, children, legal issues, mental health, sexual abuse disclosure
National Category
Law Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-130583DOI: 10.1080/10538712.2016.1145164ISI: 000375956300003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-130583DiVA: diva2:931234
Available from: 2016-05-26 Created: 2016-05-26 Last updated: 2016-06-20Bibliographically approved

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Lainpelto, Katrin
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