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ERIC Number: EJ820326
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0145-2134
Children's Expressed Emotions when Disclosing Maltreatment
Sayfan, Liat; Mitchell, Emilie B.; Goodman, Gail S.; Eisen, Mitchell L.; Qin, Jianjian
Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal, v32 n11 p1026-1036 Nov 2008
Objective: Our goal was to examine children's expressed emotions when they disclose maltreatment. Little scientific research exists on this topic, and yet children's emotional expressions at disclosure may inform psychological theory and play a crucial role in legal determinations. Method: One hundred and twenty-four videotaped forensic interviews were coded for children's emotional displays. In addition, children's trauma-related symptoms (depression, dissociation, and PTSD) and global adaptive functioning were assessed, and abuse type and frequency were documented. Results: Most children in the sample evinced neutral emotion during disclosure. However, stronger negative reactions were linked to indices of psychopathology. Number of abuse experiences was inversely related to negative emotional displays. Conclusion: Fact finders may profit from knowing that maltreated children do not necessarily cry or display strong emotion when disclosing maltreatment experiences. Nevertheless, predictors of greater negative affect at disclosure can be identified: fewer abuse experiences; higher global adaptive functioning; and for sexually abused children, greater dissociative tendencies. Practice implications: Although further research is needed, practitioners should consider that children who disclose abuse may display relatively neutral affect despite having experienced maltreatment. (Contains 4 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A