The Productivity of Wh- Prompts in Child Forensic Interviews

Elizabeth C. Ahern, Samantha J. Andrews, Stacia Roosevelt, Thomas D. Lyon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Child witnesses are often asked wh- prompts (what, how, why, who, when, where) in forensic interviews. However, little research has examined the ways in which children respond to different wh- prompts, and no previous research has investigated productivity differences among wh- prompts in investigative interviews. This study examined the use and productivity of wh- prompts in 95 transcripts of 4- to 13-year-olds alleging sexual abuse in child investigative interviews. What–how questions about actions elicited the most productive responses during both the rapport building and substantive phases. Future research and practitioner training should consider distinguishing among different wh- prompts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2007-2015
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of interpersonal violence
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • child sexual abuse
  • forensic interviewing
  • question types
  • rapport building
  • wh- prompts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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