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NCJ Number: 194759 Find in a Library
Title: Effects of Social Support on Children Eyewitness Reports: A Test of the Underlying Mechanism
Journal: Law and Human Behavior  Volume:26  Issue:2  Dated:April 2002  Pages:185-215
Author(s): Suzanne L. Davis; Bette L. Bottoms
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 30
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article explores children's eyewitness testimony and interviewer-provided social support.
Abstract: Resistance efficacy was tested on 81, 6- and 7-year-olds (39 girls, 42 boys) during a play event. The researchers theorized that children interviewed in a supportive environment would resist misleading questions. Self-efficacy theory is the ability for people to organize thoughts consistent with a desired outcome, and is a significant predictor of behavior in both children and adults. Resistance efficacy theory pertains to forensic interviewing and predicts the degree to which children resist interviewer's misleading questions. Thus, the researchers predicted that resistance efficacy would intercede the connection between interviewer support and resistance to misleading inquiries. The third area of inquiry was to test the amount of social support reserves in the child's life relative to interviewer support. Each session with a child and experimenter was videotaped. Both female and male experimenters were used throughout the testing and mock interview phases. The results revealed that children who were interviewed in a supportive environment resisted the interviewer's misleading questions, suggesting that this type of interviewing could guard against false reports. The degree to which children resist misleading questions existed for older, not younger children. Additional research is needed to gain a better understanding of this finding. Two surprising findings require further exploration: resistance efficacy existed in free-call responses, don't know responses and omission errors. The second finding that requires explanation was that resistance efficacy led to fewer commission errors by older children. Appendixes, tables, figures, and references
Main Term(s): Children in the courtroom; Research methods; Self concept; Witness credibility
Index Term(s): Behavioral science research; Child victim interviews; Individual behavior; Research design models; Testing and measurement
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