skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 157008 Find in a Library
Title: Children's Knowledge of Legal Terminology
Journal: Law and Human Behavior  Volume:14  Issue:6  Dated:(1990)  Pages:523-535
Author(s): K Saywitz; C Jaenicke; L Camparo
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 13
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examines age-related patterns in communicative abilities relevant to providing testimony, specifically, knowledge of legal terms commonly used with children in court.
Abstract: Subjects for this study were 60 public school students comprising three groups of 20 each in kindergarten, third, and sixth grades. Grade-related patterns emerged in children's knowledge of legal terms and in their misunderstanding of terms. Results suggest that age-appropriate word choice in the examination of child witnesses may be an important factor in eliciting accurate testimony. The authors also explored potential mediators of the relation between age and accurate knowledge of legal terminology (i.e., verbal skills, television viewing of court-related programs, direct experience with the legal system). The authors discuss implications for future research, court preparation, and training of legal professionals in age-appropriate examination of children. Tables, footnote, references
Main Term(s): Juveniles
Index Term(s): Children in the courtroom; Communications; Competency to testify; Courts; Juvenile procedures training; Juvenile witnesses; Legal terminology; Witness credibility
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.