Click here to download

Memory and interrogative suggestibility among child witnesses of suspected sexual abuse
Journal Title: MALTRATTAMENTO E ABUSO ALL’INFANZIA 
Author/s: Monia Vagni, Tiziana Maiorano, Daniela Pajardi 
Year:  2017 Issue: Language: Italian 
Pages:  21 Pg. 141-161 FullText PDF:  254 KB
DOI:  10.3280/MAL2017-002008
(DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation:  clicca qui   and here 


Child victims of suspected sexual abuse may be heard in court as witnesses. According to the literature, traumatic experiences increase suggestibility and interfere with memory accuracy. The aims of this study were: 1) to identify any differences in immediate and delayed suggestibility in a group of 80 minors, who are suspected victims of sexual abuse, and in a group of 80 minors non-involved in judicial proceedings; 2) to explore only in the group of suspected victims the effects of intra-family vs extra-family abuse, the number of episodes of abuse, and the invasive influence on memory and on suggestibility. Results showed that suspected victims had a higher level of suggestibility and a lower level of memory performance. Intra-family abuse and invasive influence increased suggestibility. The number of episodes of abuse did not seem to have any effects.
Keywords: Suggestibility, sexual abuse, memory, trauma, children

  1. Bremner, J. D., Shobe, K. K., & Kihlstrom, J. F. (2000). False memories in women with self-reported childhood sexual abuse: An empirical study. Psychological Science, 11, 4, 333-337,, 10.1111/1467-9280.00266DOI: 10.1111/1467-9280.00266
  2. Bruck, M., & Melnyk, L. (2004). Individual differences in children’s suggestibility: A review and synthesis. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 18, 947-996,
  3. Buzzi, F., & Vanini, M. (2014). Guida alla valutazione psichiatrica e medico-legale del danno biologico di natura psichica. Seconda edizione aggiornata a DSM 5 e PDM. Mi-lano: Giuffrè Editore.
  4. Camerini, G. B., & Sammicheli, L. (2014). Ruolo e compiti dell’esperto. In G. Gulotta & G. B. Camerini (Eds.), Linee guida nazionali. L’ascolto del minore testimone. Commentate articolo per articolo. Milano: Giuffrè Editore.
  5. Camerini, G. B., Barbieri, C., & Vacondio, R. (2015). Bambini vittime e testimoni: manuale operativo. Metodi e strumenti per la valutazione dell’idoneità testimoniale. Santarcangelo di Romagna: Maggioli Editore.
  6. Camisasca, E., Miragoli, S., & Di Blasio, P. (2014). La disorganizzazione dell’attaccamento spiega i sintomi post-traumatici nei bambini vittime di violenza intrafamiliare? Maltrat-tamento e abuso all’infanzia, 16, 2, 35-55,, 10.3280/MAL2014-002003DOI: 10.3280/MAL2014-002003
  7. Capri, P. (2016). La valutazione del minore nelle perizie in ipotesi di abuso sessuale. Mal-trattamento e abuso all'infanzia, 2, 13-29,, 10.3280/MAL2016-002002DOI: 10.3280/MAL2016-002002
  8. Cardeña, E., Butler, L. D., & Spiegel, D. (2003). Stress Disorders. Handbook of Psychology, 1, 9, 229-249,
  9. Carrion, V. G., Weems, C. F., & Reiss, A. L. (2007). Stress predicts brain changes in chil-dren: A pilot longitudinal study on youth stress, PTSD and the hippocampus. Pediatrics, 119, 509-516,
  10. Caso, L., Soardi, F., & Paccanelli, F. (2013). La suggestionabilità interrogativa nei bambini: una ricerca sperimentale sull’influenza dell’età e dell’autorevolezza dell’intervistatore. Giornale Italiano di Psicologia, 2, 313- 330,, 10.1421/74558DOI: 10.1421/74558
  11. Chae, Y., Goodman, G. S., Eisen, M. L., & Qin, J. (2011). Event memory and suggestibility in abused and neglected children: Trauma-related psychopathology and cognitive func-tioning. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 110, 520-538,
  12. Curci, A., & Bianco, A. (2014). Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scales. Manuale d’uso. Firenze: Giunti O.S. organizzazioni Speciali.
  13. Dancu, C. V., Riggs, D. S., Hearst-Ikeda, D., Shoyer, B. G., & Foa, E. B. (1996). Dissocia-tive experiences and posttraumatic stress disorder among female victims of criminal as-sault and rape. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 9, 253-267,
  14. De Bellis, M. D., Hooper, S. R., Spratt, E. G., & Woolley, D. P. (2009). Neuropsychological findings in childhood neglect and their relationships to pediatric PTSD. Journal of In-ternational Neuropsychological Society, 15, 6, 868-878,, 10.1017/S1355617709990464DOI: 10.1017/S1355617709990464
  15. De Leo, G., Scali, M., & Caso, L. (2005). La testimonianza. Problemi, metodi e strumenti nella valutazione dei testimoni. Bologna: il Mulino.
  16. Drake, K. E. (2010a). Interrogative suggestibility: Life adversity, neuroticism and compliance. Personality and Individual Differences, 48, 4, 493-498,
  17. Drake, K. E. (2010b). The psychology of interrogative suggestibility: A vulnerability during interview. Personality and Individual Differences, 49, 7, 683-688,
  18. Drake, K. E. (2011). Why might innocents make false confessions? The Psychologist, 24, 752-755.
  19. Drake, K. E., & Bull, R. (2011). Individual differences in interrogative suggestibility: Life adversity and field dependence. Psychology Crime and Law, 8, 677-687,, 10.1080/10683160903511967DOI: 10.1080/10683160903511967
  20. Drake, K. E., Bull, R., & Boon, J. C. W. (2008). Interrogative suggestibility, self-esteem, and the influence of negative life events. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 13, 299-307,, 10.1348/135532507X209981DOI: 10.1348/135532507X209981
  21. Eigsti, I. M., & Cicchetti, D. (2004), The impact of child maltreatment on expressive syntax at 60 months. Developmental Science, 7, 88-102,
  22. Eisen, M. L., Qin, J., Goodman, G. S., & Davis, S. (2002). Memory and suggestibility in maltreated children: Age, stress arousal, dissociation, and psychopathology. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 83, 167-212.
  23. Eisen, M. L., Goodman, G. S., Qin, J., Davis, S., & Crayton, J. (2007). Maltreated children’s memory: Accuracy, suggestibility, and psychopathology. Developmental Psychology, 43, 6, 1275-1294,, 10.1037/0012-1649.43.6.1275DOI: 10.1037/0012-1649.43.6.1275
  24. Giamundo, V. (2013). Abuso e maltrattamento all’infanzia. Modelli di intervento e terapia cognitivo-comportamentale. Milano: FrancoAngeli.
  25. Goodman, G. S., Bottoms, B. L., Rudy, L., Davis, S., & Schwartz-Kenney, B. M. (2001). Effects of past abuse experiences on children’s eyewitness memory. Law and Human Behavior, 25, 3, 269-298,, 10.1023/A:1010797911805DOI: 10.1023/A:1010797911805
  26. Gudjonsson, G. H. (1997). The Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scales Manual. Hove: Press.
  27. Gudjonsson, G. H., & Clark, N. K. (1986). Suggestibility in police interrogation: A social psychological model. Social Behaviour, 1, 2, 83-104.
  28. Gudjonsson, G. H. (2010). Psychological vulnerabilities during police interviews. Why are they important? Legal and Criminological Psychology, 15, 161-175.
  29. Gudjonsson, G. H., Sigurdsson, J. F., Asgeirsdottir, B. B., & Sigfusdottir, I. D. (2007). Cus-todial interrogation: What are the background factors associated with claims of false confession to police? Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, 18, 2, 266-275,, 10.1080/14789940701284312DOI: 10.1080/14789940701284312
  30. Gudjonsson, G. H., Sigurdsson, J. F., & Asgeirsdottir, B. B. (2008). False confessions and individual differences. The importance of victimization among youth. Personality and Individul Differences, 45, 801-805,
  31. Gudjonsson, G. H., Sigurdsson, J. F., & Sigfusdottir, I. D. (2009). Interrogations and false confessions among adolescents in seven countries in Europe. What background and psy-chological factors best discriminate between false confessors and non-false confessors? Psychology Crome and Law, 15, 711-728,, 10.1080/1068316080251625DOI: 10.1080/1068316080251625
  32. Gudjonsson, G. H., Sigurdsson, J. F., Sigfusdottir, I. D., & Young, S. (2012). False confes-sions to police and their relationship with conduct disorder, ADHD, and fife adversity. Personality and Individul Differences, 52, 696-701,
  33. Gudjonsson, G. H., Vagni, M., Maiorano, T., & Pajardi, D. (2016). Age and memory related changes in children’s immediate and delayed suggestibility using the Gudjonsson Sug-gestibility Scale. Personality and Individual Differences, 102, 25-29,
  34. Henry, L. A., & Gudjonsson, G. H. (2003). Eyewitness memory, suggestibility and repeated recall sessions in children with mild and moderate intellectual disabilities. Law and Hu-man Behavior, 27, 5, 481-505,, 10.1023/A:1025434022699DOI: 10.1023/A:1025434022699
  35. Howe, M .L., Toth, S. L., & Cicchetti, D. (2011). Can maltreated children inhibit true and false memories for emotional information? Child Development, 82, 967-981,
  36. Hritz, A. C., Royer, C. E., Helm, R. K., Burd, K. A., Ojeda, K., & Ceci, S. J. (2015). Chil-dren’s suggestibility research: Things to know before interviewing a child. Anuario de Psicologia Juridica, 25, 1, 3-12,
  37. Labbate, L. A., Cardeña, E., Dimitreva, J., Roy, M., & Engel, C. C. (1998). Psychiatric syn-dromes in Persian Gulf War veterans: An association of handling dead bodies with so-matoform disorders. Psychother Psychosom, 67, 275-279,, 10.1159/000012292DOI: 10.1159/000012292
  38. Loftus, E. F. (2005). Planting misinformation in the human mind: A 30-year investigation of the malleability of memory. Learning & Memory, 12, 361-366,
  39. Loftus, E. F. (2007). Memory distortions: Problems solved and unsolved. In M. Garry, & H. Hayne (Eds.) Do justice and let the skies fall: Elisabeth Loftus and her contributions to science, law and accademic freedom. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  40. McWilliams, K., Harris, L. S., & Goodman, G. S. (2014). Child maltreatment, trauma-related psychopathology, and eyewitness memory in children and adolescents. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 32, 702-717,
  41. Procaccia, R. (2016). L’ascolto del minore vittima di violenza tra esigenze cliniche e giuri-diche. Maltrattamento e abuso all’infanzia, 2, 7-12,, 10.3280/MAL2016-002001DOI: 10.3280/MAL2016-002001
  42. Raven, J., Court, J. H., & Raven, J. C. (1998). Raven Manual, Section 1 (General overview) and Section 2 (Coloured Progressive Matrices). Oxford, UK: Oxford Psychology Press.
  43. Ridley, A. M., & Gudjonsson, G. H. (2013). Suggestibility and individual differences: Psy-chosocial and memory measures. In A. M. Ridley, F. Gabbert & D. J. La Rooy (Eds.) Suggestibility in legal contexts. Psychological research and forensic implications. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  44. Schooler, J. W., & Loftus, E. F. (1986). Individual differences and experimentation: Com-plementary approaches to interrogative suggestibility. Social Behaviour, 1, 105-112.
  45. Schooler, J. W., & Loftus, E. F. (1993). Multiple mechanisms mediate individual differences in eyewitness accuracy and suggestibility. In J. M. Puckett & H. W. Reese (Eds.) Mech-anism of everyday cognition (pp. 177-204). London: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  46. Sigfusdottir, I. D., Asgeirsdottir, B. B., Gudjonsson, G. H., & Sigurdsson, J. F. (2013). Sui-cidal ideations and attempts among adolescents subjected to childhood sexual abuse and family conflict/violence: The mediating role of anger and depressed mood. Journal of Adolescence, 36, 1227-1237,
  47. Toth, S. L., Harris, L. S., Goodman, G. S., & Cicchetti, D. (2011). Influence of violence and aggression on children’s psychological development: Trauma, attachment, and memory. In P. R. Shaver & M. Mikulincer (Eds.), Human aggression and violence:Causes, mani-festations, and consequences. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  48. Twamley, E. W., Allard, C. B., Thorp, S. R., Norman, S. B., Cissell, S. H., Berardi, K. H., Grimes, E. M., & Stein, M. B. (2009). Cognitive impairment and functioning in PTSD related to intimate partner violence. Journal of International Neuropsychological Society, 15, 6, 879-887,, 10.1017/S135561770999049XDOI: 10.1017/S135561770999049X
  49. Vagni, M., Maiorano, T., Pajardi, D., & Gudjonsson, G. (2015). Immediate and delayed suggestibility among suspected child victims of sexual abuse. Personality and Individual Differences, 79, 129-133,
  50. Van der Kolk, B. A., McFarlane, A. C., & Weisaeth, L. A. (1996) (eds). Traumatic stress: The effects of overwhelming experience on mind, body, and society. New York: Guilford Press.

Monia Vagni, Tiziana Maiorano, Daniela Pajardi, Memory and interrogative suggestibility among child witnesses of suspected sexual abuse in "MALTRATTAMENTO E ABUSO ALL’INFANZIA" 2/2017, pp. 141-161, DOI:10.3280/MAL2017-002008

   

FrancoAngeli is a member of Publishers International Linking Association a not for profit orgasnization wich runs the CrossRef service, enabing links to and from online scholarly content