Stress, Supportive Interviewing, and Children's Identification Accuracy

22 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2009

See all articles by Elizabeth Kellstrand

Elizabeth Kellstrand

University of California, Irvine - School of Social Ecology

Jodi Quas

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

Maria Sumaroka

University of California, Irvine - School of Social Ecology

Steven E. Clark

University of California, Riverside (UCR) - Department of Psychology

Rakel Larson

University of California, Riverside (UCR) - Department of Psychology

Date Written: August 3, 2009

Abstract

Although little is known about the effects of stress on children’s lineup identification accuracy, stress appears to be detrimental to adults’ identification accuracy. If stress is similarly detrimental to children, it is important to understand why such effects occur and, if possible, identify ways to mitigate these effects. The current study investigated the effects of stress on children’s identification abilities and whether interviewer-provided social support moderated these effects. 159 7-8 and 12-14 year olds completed a high or low stress version of a challenging laboratory task that involved interacting with an adult male and female experimenter. Two weeks later, children’s memory for the interaction, including the identity of the male experimenter via a photo lineup, was examined. Lineups varied in whether the identification target was present or absent, and interviewers behaved in either a supportive or nonsupportive manner. Identification accuracy, especially in terms of correctly rejecting the target absent line ups, was highest among children who experienced the high stress laboratory task and were later interviewed in a supportive manner. Results have implications for forensic settings in which child witnesses are asked to identify a perpetrator encountered under stressful circumstances.

Keywords: child witnesses, stress, interviewing techniques, eyewitness identification

Suggested Citation

Kellstrand, Elizabeth and Quas, Jodi and Sumaroka, Maria and Clark, Steven E. and Larson, Rakel, Stress, Supportive Interviewing, and Children's Identification Accuracy (August 3, 2009). CELS 2009 4th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1443544 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1443544

Elizabeth Kellstrand (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine - School of Social Ecology ( email )

226B Social Ecology 1
Irvine, CA 92697
United States

Jodi Quas

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

2340 Social Ecology 2, RM
Irvine, CA 92697

Maria Sumaroka

University of California, Irvine - School of Social Ecology ( email )

226B Social Ecology 1
Irvine, CA 92697
United States

Steven E. Clark

University of California, Riverside (UCR) - Department of Psychology ( email )

Riverside, CA 92521-0426
United States

Rakel Larson

University of California, Riverside (UCR) - Department of Psychology ( email )

Riverside, CA 92521-0426
United States

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