Child abuse: adolescent records vs. adult recall

Child Abuse Negl. 1990;14(2):227-31. doi: 10.1016/0145-2134(90)90033-p.


In a follow-up study of incarcerated Connecticut youth, 69 subjects were interviewed during young adulthood. On follow-up, 26 gave histories of abuse discrepant with histories obtained from records and interviews conducted in adolescence. Eleven subjects agreed to an additional clarification interview, at which time they were apprised of the discrepancies. Of these, eight had adolescent records indicating that abuse had occurred but denied abuse during the adult follow-up interview. The remaining three had adolescent records indicating no abuse had ever occurred, but, on follow-up, reported having been abused. The additional clarification interviews revealed that all 11 subjects with discrepant histories had, in fact, been abused. Reasons for these discrepant data and strategies to enhance the investigator's ability to obtain accurate data regarding abuse are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Battered Child Syndrome / psychology*
  • Child Abuse / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Defense Mechanisms
  • Denial, Psychological
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Juvenile Delinquency / psychology*
  • Male
  • Memory*
  • Mental Recall*