Because intensely reluctant children often fail to report being abused even when they are supportively interviewed, the Revised NICHD (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Protocol (RP) guides interviewers to delay discussion of sensitive topics and build rapport before scheduling a follow-up interview in which children might feel more comfortable. We sought to determine whether adherence to these recommendations was associated with the children’s propensity to make allegations. Repeated forensic interviews were conducted with 202 Israeli children aged 3–14 who did not make allegations in the first interview, but of whom 104 made allegations during the second interview. The interviews were coded to identify interviewers’ provision of support and types of substantive questions (invitations vs. closed-ended), as well as children’s signs of reluctance, responsiveness, and informativeness. Interviewer behavior was represented with a latent variable reflecting the interviewers’ expression of support, use of invitations, and the avoidance of closed-ended questions. Structural equation modeling (SEM) showed that adherence to the suggested interviewing model was positively associated with children being more likely to allege abuse (total effect: β = .29). This association was mediated by children’s enhanced cooperativeness in the second interview (indirect effect: β = .16). These findings suggest that repeated interviews can be useful despite the additional financial costs.
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© 2020 American Psychological Association
- child investigative interviewing
- repeated interviews
- revised NICHD protocol