Knowing the factors that influence children’s suggestibility is important in implementing the psychological variables to be evaluated during a forensic evaluation. In the interrogative suggestibility model, coping strategies intervene in determining the acceptance or rejection of the leading question. However, studies that investigated the relationship between interrogative suggestibility and coping strategies had mixed results. Avoidance-oriented coping is associated with high level to immediate suggestibility and problem-focused with low levels. In this study, we measured immediate suggestibility, delayed suggestibility, and coping strategies in a sample of 100 children. We hypothesized that avoidance-oriented coping strategies have a predictive effect in increasing immediate suggestibility levels, in particular avoidance-oriented coping oriented towards the tendency to accept leading questions. No effect of coping strategies was expected on delayed suggestibility. All children completed the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale (GSS 2), a non-verbal IQ test, and the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS). Coping strategies were not related to delayed suggestibility, but avoidance-oriented coping correlated positively with immediate suggestibility. Avoidance-oriented coping emerged as the only significant predictive model for shift and total suggestibility, and its subscale distraction emerged as a predictor for Yield 1 and Yield 2. No predictors emerged for delayed suggestibility. Results are discussed for their theoretical implications.
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