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The relationship between job status, interviewing experience, gender, and police officers' adherence to open-ended questions


Correspondence should be addressed to Professor Martine B. Powell, School of Psychology, Deakin University, Burwood 3125, Victoria, Australia (e-mail:


Purpose. The current study examined whether several factors related to the job and demographic profile of police officers are associated with adherence to best-practice guidelines when interviewing children.

Method. One hundred and seventy-eight police officers completed a standardized (simulated) interview regarding an allegation of abuse by a 5-year-old child. Immediately prior to this interview, details were obtained from the officers' regarding their job status, gender, interview experience, the timing and nature of prior training/supervision, and experience outside the policing profession with young children.

Results. The results showed that timing of training was the only factor that related to interview performance. The proportion of open-ended questions among participants who completed their interviewer training course less than 1 month prior to the simulated interview was better than those who completed the training earlier. Interestingly, the performance of the latter group was identical to that of a group of participants who had not yet received any formal interview training. The implications of the findings are discussed, along with directions for future research.