Peterson (1999): Children's Memory For Medical Emergencies: Two Years Later


Two- to thirteen-year-olds’ long-term recall of medical emergencies (including both injury and hospital treatment) was assessed two years after injury. Event identity was important: children recalled injury details better than hospital treatment. Ninety-six children were interviewed three times prior to the 2-year recall; amount recalled only decreased for hospital treatment details, although accuracy decreased for both injury and treatment. Twenty-one children were interviewed only twice prior to the 2-year interview. An extra interview one year after their injury had little effect on how much older children recalled about both events or younger children about injury details, but it helped younger children recall the less memorable hospital event. The extra interview also helped all children maintain accuracy when recalling hospital details, but was unnecessary for the more memorable injury event. Implications for children’s testimony are discussed.