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The Relationship between Suggestibility, Fabrication, Distortion, and Trauma in Suspected Sexually Abused Children

Department of Humanities, University of Urbino, 61029 Urbino, Italy
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Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(2), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10020037
Received: 20 December 2020 / Revised: 19 January 2021 / Accepted: 20 January 2021 / Published: 24 January 2021
Being a victim of abuse in childhood can lead to the development of trauma-related psychopathology, which could affect the testimony of the child victim. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a factor that can increase both the levels of suggestibility and the production of memory errors, such as confabulations, which can be identified in distortions and fabrications. No studies have analyzed the relationship between suggestibility, fabrications, distortions, and PTSD on samples of children and adolescents suspected of being sexually abused. This study aims to verify in a sample of 221 sexually abused children and adolescents the effect of PTSD, measured by Trauma Symptoms Checklist for Children, in increasing the levels of immediate and delayed suggestibility and the production of fabrications and distortions in immediate and delayed memory tasks, obtained by Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale 2, controlling age and non-verbal intelligence. Our results show that PTSD increases the levels of immediate and delayed suggestibility, but it has no effect on memory recall in immediate recall tasks. Moreover, PTSD leads to a greater number of distorted and fabricated information inserted in delayed memory. Forensic implications of PTSD consequences on memory tasks and suggestibility levels of sexually abused children are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: suggestibility; child abuse; testify; trauma; PTSD; distortion; fabrication; memory; post-event information suggestibility; child abuse; testify; trauma; PTSD; distortion; fabrication; memory; post-event information
MDPI and ACS Style

Vagni, M.; Maiorano, T.; Giostra, V. The Relationship between Suggestibility, Fabrication, Distortion, and Trauma in Suspected Sexually Abused Children. Soc. Sci. 2021, 10, 37. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10020037

AMA Style

Vagni M, Maiorano T, Giostra V. The Relationship between Suggestibility, Fabrication, Distortion, and Trauma in Suspected Sexually Abused Children. Social Sciences. 2021; 10(2):37. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10020037

Chicago/Turabian Style

Vagni, Monia, Tiziana Maiorano, and Valeria Giostra. 2021. "The Relationship between Suggestibility, Fabrication, Distortion, and Trauma in Suspected Sexually Abused Children" Social Sciences 10, no. 2: 37. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10020037

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