Reliability of criteria-based content analysis of child witness statements


Section on Social and Emotional Development, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 9190 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA


Purpose. To assess the inter-judge and test-retest reliability of criteria-based content analysis, a system designed to evaluate statements by young victims and witnesses.

Methods. Transcripts of interviews with 100 alleged victims of child sexual abuse were examined for the presence of 19 criteria by three judges on two occasions.

Results. Total scores were highly reliable over time and across raters, but the inter-judge reliability of individual criteria varied. Five criteria were sufficiently unreliable that they should either be redefined or eliminated from use, whereas the remaining 14 criteria were reliable across judges. All 19 criteria had adequate test–retest reliability.

Conclusions. With some revision, the CBCA system has sufficient reliability to be used as a psychometric procedure, provided adequate validity can also be demonstrated.