Criterion-based content analysis: A field validation study

Michael E. Lamb, Kathleen J. Sternberg, Phillip W. Esplin, Irit Hershkowitz, Yael Orbach, Meir Hovav

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transcripts of forensic interviews with 98 alleged victims of child sexual abuse were scored for the presence or absence of certain criteria believed to be more characteristic of accounts concerning experienced than nonexperienced events. Other information regarding the events was independently evaluated by individuals unfamiliar with the children's accounts. As predicted, more of the CBCA criteria were present in accounts independently rated as Likely or Very Likely to have occurred (M = 6.74) than in accounts of events deemed Unlikely or Very Unlikely to have occurred (M = 4.85). In addition, several of the criteria were helpful in distinguishing between plausible and implausible accounts. The group differences were not as dramatic as those reported in earlier studies, however, and the results suggest caution regarding forensic application of the CBCA system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-264
Number of pages10
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • CBCA ratings
  • Child witnesses
  • Credibility
  • Sexual abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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