Peterson, C. (in press). "And I Was Very Very Crying": Child Self-Descriptions of Distress as Predictors of Recall. Applied Cognitive Psychology.


Children's (145 2- to 13-year-olds) self-descriptions of how much they cried when injured and subsequently treated in a hospital emergency room were used as predictors of their recall accuracy, completeness, and number of unique details in interviews occurring a week, a year, and 2 years later. Hierarchical regressions showed that stress was related to all three ways of evaluating children's recall of their injury in initial interviews, although only the completeness of hospital recall was related to stress. For accuracy, stress compromised recall of 2- to 6-year-olds in initial but not later interviews; for completeness, stress compromised recall of both events in initial but not later interviews. In contrast, highly distressed children provided the most detail in their first two interviews and the oldest children still did so 2 years later. However, stress effects were modest.