Vol. 5, Issue 1, January 2013

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Forensic-clinical interview: Reliability and validity for the evaluation of psychological injury Forensic-clinical interview: Reliability and validity for the evaluation of psychological injury

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Manuel Vilariño; Ramón Arce; and Francisca Fariña

pp. 1-21


Abstract: Forensic evaluation of psychological injury involves the use of a multimethod approximation i.e., a psychometric instrument, normally the MMPI-2, and a clinical interview. In terms of the clinical interview, the traditional clinical interview (e.g., SCID) is not valid for forensic settings as it does not fulfil the triple objective of forensic evaluation: diagnosis of psychological injury in terms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a differential diagnosis of feigning, and establishing a causal relationship between allegations of intimate partner violence (IPV) and psychological injury. To meet this requirement, Arce and Fariña (2001) created the forensic-clinical interview based on two techniques that do not contaminate the contents i.e., reinstating the contexts and free recall, and a methodic categorical system of contents analysis for the diagnosis of psychological injury and a differential diagnosis of feigning. The reliability and validity of the forensic-clinical interview designed for the forensic evaluation of psychological injury was assessed in 51 genuine cases of (IPV) and 54 mock victims of IPV who were evaluated using a forensic-clinical interview and the MMPI-2. The result revealed that the forensic-clinical interview was a reliable instrument (α = .85 for diagnostic criteria of psychological injury, and α = .744 for feigning strategies). Moreover, the results corroborated the predictive validity (the diagnosis of PTSD was similar to the expected rate); the convergence validity (the diagnosis of PTSD in the interview strongly correlated with the Pk Scale of the MMPI-2), and discriminant validity (the diagnosis of PTSD in the interview did not correlate with the Pk Scale in feigners). The feigning strategies (differential diagnosis) also showed convergent validity (high correlation with the Scales and indices of the MMPI2 for the measure of feigning) and discriminant validity (no genuine victim was classified as a feigner). Notwithstanding, feigning strategies failed to correctly classify all of the feigners indicating they must be complemented with other measures (multimethod approximation) to meet the requirements of forensic settings.


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Do sober eyewitnesses outperform alcohol intoxicated eyewitnesses in a lineup? Do sober eyewitnesses outperform alcohol intoxicated eyewitnesses in a lineup?

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Angelica Hagsand; Emma Roos-af-Hjelmsäter; Pär Anders Granhag; Claudia Fahlke; and Anna Söderpalm-Gordh

pp. 23-47


Abstract: Although alcohol intoxicated eyewitnesses are common, there are only a few studies in the area. The aim of the current study is to investigate how different doses of alcohol affect eyewitness lineup identification performance. The participants (N = 123) were randomly assigned to a 3 [Beverage: control (0.0 g/kg ethanol) vs. lower (0.4 g/kg ethanol) vs. higher alcohol dose (0.7 g/kg ethanol)] X 2 (Lineup: target-present vs. target-absent) between-subject design. Participants consumed two glasses of beverage at an even pace for 15 minutes. Five minutes after consumption the participants witnessed a film depicting a staged kidnapping. Seven days later, the participants returned to the laboratory and were asked to identify the culprit in a simultaneous lineup. The result showed that overall, the participants performed better than chance; however, their lineup performance was poor. There were no significant effects of alcohol intoxication with respect to performance, neither in target-present nor target-absent lineups. The study’s results suggest that eyewitnesses who have consumed a lower (0.4 g/kg ethanol) or a higher (0.7 g/kg ethanol) dose of alcohol perform at the same level as sober eyewitnesses in a lineup. The results are discussed in relation to the alcohol myopia theory and suggestions for future research are made.


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The reliability of identification evidence with multiple lineups The reliability of identification evidence with multiple lineups

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Melanie Sauerland; Anna K. Stockmar; Siegfried L. Sporer; and Nick J. Broers

pp. 49-71


Abstract: This study aimed to establish the diagnostic value of multiple lineup decisions made for portrait, body, and profile lineups, including multiple target/suspect choices, rejections, foil choices, and don’t know answers. A total of 192 participants identified a thief and a victim of theft from independent simultaneous target-present or target-absent 6-person portrait, body and profile lineups after watching one of two stimulus films. As hypothesized, multiple target/suspect choices had incriminating value whereas multiple rejections, foil choices, and don’t know answers had mostly exonerating value. For suspect choices, the combination of all three lineup modes consistently elicited high diagnosticities across targets. Combinations of non-suspect choices (rejections, foil choices, or don’t know answers) were less successful and the different combinations showed less consistency in terms of diagnosticity. It was concluded that the use of multiple lineups, such as different facial poses and different aspects of a person should be particularly beneficial in three situations: if a witness only saw the perpetrator from a pose different than the frontal view normally used for lineups; if one or more witnesses saw the perpetrator from more than one perspective; and if different witnesses saw the perpetrator from different perspectives.


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Predicting success indicators of an intervention programme for convicted intimate-partner violence offenders: The Contexto Programme Predicting success indicators of an intervention programme for convicted intimate-partner violence offenders: The Contexto Programme

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Marisol Lila; Amparo Oliver; Laura Galiana; and Enrique Gracia pp. 73-95


Abstract: Recent legal changes in Spain have led to an important increase in the number of men court-mandated to community-based partner violence offender intervention programmes. However, just a few of those interventions have been systematically examined. This study aims to predict success indicators of an intervention programme for convicted intimate-partner violence offenders. The sample consisted of 212 convicted intimate-partner violence offenders who participated in the Contexto Programme. Three “intervention gains” or target criteria were established (increasing the perceived severity of violence, increasing the responsibility assumption for one’s actions, and reducing the risk of recidivism). A structural equations model was tested, fitting data appropriately. Participants with major gain in recidivism risk were those who presented lower levels of alcohol consumption, shorter sentences, lower impulsivity, and a higher degree of life satisfaction. The largest gain in perceived severity was found in younger participants, participants with shorter sentences, lower alcohol consumption, higher life satisfaction, higher participation in their community, and higher self-esteem. And, finally, participants with the highest gains in responsibility assumption were older participants, participants who presented higher intimate support, higher anxiety, higher sexism, lower anger control, higher depression, higher impulsivity and higher self-esteem.

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Do testimonies of traumatic events differ depending on the interviewer? Do testimonies of traumatic events differ depending on the interviewer?

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Rebecca Brönnimann; Jane Herlihy; Julia Müller; and Ulrike Ehlert

pp. 97-121


Abstract: While differences in witness narratives due to different interviewers may have implications for their credibility in court, this study considers how investigative interviews by different parties to the proceedings, as well as the gender and nationality of interviewers, can influence the testimony of witnesses in court who share comparable traumatic experiences. The foundation of the analysis was answers given to judges, prosecutors, civil party lawyers and defence lawyers in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) located in Phnom Penh. Transcribed testimonies of 24 victim witnesses and civil parties which were translated from Khmer into English were analysed using a computer-based text analysis program, the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC). Results showed that when answering questions by females, witnesses used significantly more cognitive process words. When interviewed by international rather than by Cambodian parties to the proceeding witness accounts were composed of significantly more verbal expressions of affective processes and of perceptual processes.  Furthermore, witnesses used most cognitive and affective process words during the interview by civil party lawyers and defence lawyers. These results may be due to a prior supportive relationship between civil parties and their lawyers and due to a more interrogative question style by the defence lawyers, who attempt to undermine the credibility of the interviewed witnesses. Data shows that LIWC analysis is an appropriate method to examine witness accounts and, therefore, contributes to a better understanding of the complex relationship between testimony in events under litigation and credibility.


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