Comparing Parental Questioning Across Varied Event Conditions

Walsh, Erin C. (2020) Comparing Parental Questioning Across Varied Event Conditions. Memorial University of Newfoundland. (Unpublished)

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Past anecdotal evidence (Goodman, 2006; Principe et al., 2013) shows that parents talk to their children about negative events (e.g., talking to strangers) in varying degrees of detail and may unknowingly suggest incorrect information. A sample of 26 parents (24 women, 2 men) ranging in age from 19 to 48 (M = 34.62, SD = 8.08) completed an attachment questionnaire and an interview conducted in person or via telephone. Events were presented to parents that varied across three degrees of seriousness (i.e., stolen lunch/inappropriate recording/sexual misconduct) to see how they would question their children in a situation similar to the McMartin Preschool case. Gender (male/female), age (older child/adult), and believability (low – accused received no disciplinary action vs. high - accused received disciplinary action) were manipulated to see whether/how these variables would change parents’ perception of the event and consequently, their questioning style. Parents believed it was important to find the truth surrounding accusations that may have happened at their children’s schools. Parents thought it would be more believable if a male were accused of sexual misconduct than of inappropriately recording a child, however, the opposite was found when assessing their perceptions of females. Parents also said they would be more likely to believe the alleged event occurred when an adult had been accused than when an older child had been accused. Results suggest caution is necessary when parents are questioning children about an event that may have occurred, so that error is not introduced.

Item Type: Other
Item ID: 15109
Department(s): Grenfell Campus > School of Arts and Social Science > Psychology
Date: April 2020
Date Type: Submission

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