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The influences of delay and severity of intellectual disability on event memory in children

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date10/2012
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Journal number5
Volume80
Number of pages13
Pages829-841
Early online date16/07/12
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

To examine the ability of children with intellectual disabilities to give reliable accounts of personally experienced events, considering the effects of delay, severity of disability, and the types of interview prompt used. Method: In a between-subjects design, we compared children with intellectual disabilities (7–12 years) that fell in either the mild–borderline range (n = 46) or the moderate range (n = 35) and typically developing children matched for either chronological age (7–12 years; n = 60) or mental age (4–9 years; n = 65) with respect to memories of an interactive event about which they were interviewed after either a short (1-week) or long (6-month) delay. Children were interviewed using the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Investigative Interview Protocol (Lamb, Hershkowitz, Orbach, & Esplin, 2008) to elicit their recall of the event and were then asked a series of highly suggestive questions to allow both their reliability and suggestibility to be examined. Results: The children with mild intellectual disabilities were as able as their mental age matches, whereas children with more severe cognitive impairments were qualitatively different across the various competencies examined. However, even children with more severe impairments were highly accurate in this supportive interview context. Conclusions: The findings indicate that children with intellectual disabilities can be valuable informants when forensically interviewed and can provide clear guidance about the ways in which they should be interviewed.