Repeated Interviews with Children Who have Intellectual Disabilities

A.-C Cederborg, David la Rooy, M. E Lamb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The study explores whether repeated interviews might facilitate the disclosure and description of abuse by children who had intellectual disabilities. Materials: The chronological ages of the 19 children, involved in 20 cases, ranged from between 4.7 and 18 years (M = 10.3years) at the time of the first alleged abuse.
Method: The quality of the eliciting techniques in both initial and repeated interviews with respect to the utterances used by interviewers was investigated as well as the substantive information reported in the later interviews. The substantive information was categorised as new, elaborated, consistent or contradictory by comparison with substantive information elicited in the first interview. We also assessed the risk that children’s recall in the repeated interview was contaminated because of the option-posing and suggestive questions asked in the initial interview. This was done by comparing information elicited from these focused questions in the initial interview with responses about the same topic elicited from open questions in the second interview.
Results: The quality of the questions asked was poor but the repeated interviews allowed children with intellectual disabilities to elaborate upon their previous answers and to report new information about their abuse experiences, without contradicting themselves.
Conclusion: By giving children with intellectual disabilities a second chance to report about their abuse, they may be able to further develop the information that they report and even provide entirely new information about their experiences. This requires, however, that interviewers are trained in how to elicit as accurate information as possible from them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-113
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number2
Early online date30 Jun 2007
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008

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