The utility of the birthday prompt in narrative practice with maltreated and non-maltreated 4- to 9-year-old children.

Henderson, H.M., Konovalov, H., Williams, S., & Lyon, T.D.
Applied Developmental Science
Forensic interviewers are encouraged to elicit a practice narrative from children in order to train them to answer free recall questions with narrative information. Although asking children about their last birthday has been recommended, concerns have been raised that many children will have nothing to report. This study asked 994 4- to 9-year-old maltreated and non-maltreated children to recall their last birthday. Although a fair number of children initially failed to recall information (9%), virtually all children recalled information with persistent encouragement (99%). Younger children and maltreated children were less responsive and spoke less, but nevertheless, 93% of the youngest children (4-year-olds) and 97% of maltreated children recalled information with persistent encouragement. The results suggest that children’s failures to recall information about birthdays are predominantly attributable to a failure to provide additional support.
USC Gould Author
Vice Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs, and Judge Edward J. and Ruey L. Guirado Chair in Law and Psychology