Investigative interviews of alleged sexual abuse victims with and without anatomical dolls

Michael E. Lamb, Irit Hershkowitz, Kathleen J. Sternberg, Barbara Boat, Mark D. Everson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Verbal and nonverbal responses by alleged victims of child sexual abuse were coded for length, amount of information, and the manner in which they were elicited by the interviewer. In 16 of the interviews, anatomical dolls were employed for the purposes of demonstration, whereas they were not used in another eight cases matched with respect to other characteristics of the children and the alleged events. Children interviewed with dolls provided an equivalent number of details and spoke as many words in the substantive portion of the interview as did children interviewed without dolls, and interviewers in the two groups used similar probes to elicit information. However, the average responses by the children were significantly longer and more detailed when dolls were not used. Children gave longer and more detailed responses to open-ended invitations when dolls were not used. Caution is necessary when interpreting these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1251-1259
Number of pages9
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Anatomical dolls
  • Interview processes
  • Investigative interviews

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Investigative interviews of alleged sexual abuse victims with and without anatomical dolls'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this