Dynamics of verbal interaction between interviewer and child in interviews with alleged victims of child sexual abuse

Julia Korkman, Pekka Santtila, Kenneth Sandnabba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


A number (n = 27) of investigative interviews with children were analyzed with a view to explore the verbal dynamics between interviewer and child. Different types of interviewer utterances and child responses were defined, and the interrelationships between these were explored. The effectiveness of different interviewer utterances in eliciting information from children as well as the type of utterance the interviewer used to follow up an informative answer by the child were investigated. Option-posing and suggestive utterances made up for more than 50% of interviewer utterances, the proportion of invitations being only 2%. Invitations and directive utterances were associated with an increase in informative responses by the child, the adverse being true for option-posing and suggestive utterances. Interestingly, even after the child had provided an informative answer, interviewers continued to rely on focused and leading interviewing methods--in spite of a slight improvement in interviewing behavior.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)109–119
JournalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Cite this