Effects of Investigative Utterance Types on Israeli Children's Responses

Michael E. Lamb, Irit Hershkowitz, Kathleen J. Sternberg, Phillip W. Esplin, Meir Hovav, Talma Manor, Liora Yudilevitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This field study is concerned with the effect of interviewing style on children's reports of sexual abuse. Detailed psycholinguistic analyses of 22 front-line interviews of 5- to 11-year-old Israeli children by a number of interviewers focused on the length (number of words) and richness (number of new details) provided in responses to different types of utterances by the interviewers. As predicted, open-ended invitations yielded significantly longer and more detailed responses than directive, leading, or suggestive utterances, regardless of age. The younger children provided briefer and less detailed responses, however. These findings underscore the value of open-ended prompts in investigative interviews.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-637
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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