Children's Recantation of Adult Wrongdoing: In the Field and In the Lab Grant

Children's Recantation of Adult Wrongdoing: In the Field and In the Lab .


  • Child maltreatment is a significant public health concern. Children must be able to disclose abuse to allow officials to identify victims, prosecute perpetrators, and protect children. Children's ability to maintain consistent abuse reports influences perceptions of their credibility. Recantation, which means that children disclose but then retract allegations, is an inconsistency in a story that raises problems for effective and fair protection of children. The reasons why children recant have been hotly debated in recent years. Are children who are more vulnerable to influence from adult family members at greater riskfor recanting This question guides the proposed research. First, the project examines the dependency court case files of child sexual abuse victims. The main objectives are: (1) to identify variables that predict recantation among actual cases of abuse, and (2) to investigate children's patterns of disclosure after having recanted their report. Next, the researcher will conduct an experiment, with the the primary objectives of: (1)investigating the frequency with which children recant a report of a minor act of wrongdoing in the laboratory; and (2) examining how children's age and supportive (or unsupportive) comments from parents influence children's decisions to recant their disclosure about the broken toy. The proposed studies will contribute to understanding the processes by which children reveal the wrongdoing of others. Results will shed light on children's developmental vulnerabilities and the social influences on their reports of events. Practically, results from the proposed studies have implications for investigators, attorneys, fact finders, and expert witnesses. The proposed studies will also offer training opportunities, allowing many students to become involved in socially-relevant scientific research. The students are likely to be members of underrepresented groups because many of the students at the university are.

date/time interval

  • February 15, 2013 - July 31, 2016

sponsor award ID

  • 1252074