Maltreated Children’s Temporal Knowledge for Significant Events

Posted: 6 Aug 2009

See all articles by Lindsay Erin Wandrey

Lindsay Erin Wandrey

University of California, Irvine

Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Gould School of Law

Jodi Quas

University of California, Irvine - Department of Criminology, Law and Society

William J. Friedman

Oberlin College

Date Written: August 3, 2009

Abstract

Maltreated children are often asked, during forensic interviews and when testifying in court, temporal questions about when their abuse occurred. Yet, it is unknown as to how well maltreated children can actually answer temporal questions, or how their temporal knowledge develops more generally. The present study examined 167 6- to10-year-old maltreated children’s temporal knowledge (e.g., the current month) and temporal memory (e.g., how many times a prior event occurred) for prior significant documented events. Overall accuracy was poor for many of the questions when children were dichotomized as being correct or not. However, children’s reports were not largely discrepant from the correct time, and their reports were often significantly better than chance. Together, these results highlight limitations but also competencies in maltreated children’s temporal abilities and have important implications for evaluating children’s statements in legal contexts.

Keywords: temporal memory, maltreated children

Suggested Citation

Wandrey, Lindsay Erin and Lyon, Thomas D. and Quas, Jodi and Friedman, William J., Maltreated Children’s Temporal Knowledge for Significant Events (August 3, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1443501 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1443501

Lindsay Erin Wandrey (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine ( email )

Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 62697-3125
United States

Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Gould School of Law ( email )

699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
213-740-0142 (Phone)
213-740-5502 (Fax)

Jodi Quas

University of California, Irvine - Department of Criminology, Law and Society ( email )

2340 Social Ecology 2, RM
Irvine, CA 92697

William J. Friedman

Oberlin College ( email )

Oberlin, OH 44074
United States

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