The Effects of Rapport-Building when Interviewing Children
Eliciting accurate information from children in forensic and clinical settings is highly important. Past research has shown that building a positive relationship between the client and interviewer/therapist is essential in producing a successful outcome. However the development of rapport with a child can be challenging for a number of reasons. Unlike adults, children are often referred to therapy, therefore less willing to co-operate; children find the experience intimidating, and furthermore, often perceive the interviewer/therapist as an authority figure, rather than someone they feel comfortable with (Frick, Barry & Kamphaus, 2010; Kamphaus & Frick, 1996; Malchiodi, 1998). The overarching goal of the present thesis was to test the effect of four different rapport-building techniques (tell, draw-and-tell, sandplay and no rapport) on children’s reports of self-nominated sad and scared experiences. To do this, 80 5-year-old children, in the pre-substantive phase of an interview, either played in sand, drew-and-told, or told the interviewer about things they liked to do. Children in the controlled no-rapport condition had no interaction with the interviewer pre-interview. Following this, children were interviewed about two prior experiences that made them feel sad and scared. Our results showed no significant differences between rapport-building conditions and the amount and accuracy the children recalled. Furthermore, the information that the children reported was highly accurate across all rapport-building conditions. We also found that regardless of what rapport-buildling condition children were in, children all rated the working alliance with the female interviewer as reasonable high. We discuss the implications of these findings and question the benefits of using a rapport-building phase in the pre-substantive phase of an interview.
Advisor: Gross, Julien; Macleod, Emily; Hayne, Harlene
Degree Name: Master of Science
Degree Discipline: Psychology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Rapport-buildling; interviewing; children
Research Type: Thesis