Socioemotional factors in child sexual abuse investigations

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Two socioemotional factors were explored in association with children's production of forensic information during sexual abuse investigations: rapport building and interviewer's support. The study tested to what extent (a) the length and questioning style in the rapport-building session and (b) the level of support interviewers provided to the children, were associated with the amount of forensic details children provided in their investigation. These associations were explored for more talkative and less talkative children as well as for children of two age groups (4-6 and 7-9 years). A total of 71 forensic interviews of alleged victims of child sexual abuse were subject to a detailed psycholinguistic analysis. Results suggest that richer information in the child's responses is associated with a short and open style rapport-building session as well as with a higher level of interviewer's support. This association is especially marked for less talkative children who might be in special need of support and for whom the rapport with the interviewer might be more meaningful.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-181
Number of pages10
JournalChild Maltreatment
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Child sexual abuse
  • Investigation
  • Rapport building
  • Support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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