Children's memories of dental procedures : effect of question type, individual differences and temporal delay
This study explored external and internal factors and their effect on children’s memory of a naturalistic, potentially stressful event, namely, a dental procedure. Specifically, question format (yes/no questions versus multiple choice questions) and temporal delay (short delay versus long delay) were the external factors examined, while anxiety, temperament, distress level, working memory and previous experience were the internal factors examined. Children (N=68) aged 4-12 years and their parents participated. Prior to the procedure, children provided ratings of their current anxiety on an anxiety rating scale. Following the procedure, children provided pain ratings and were given 24 forced choice questions regarding the dental event. Parents responded to questions regarding their child’s previous dental experiences and temperament via a questionnaire. The findings suggest that: (a) multiple-choice questions are more problematic than yes/no questions, (b) that younger children are more suggestible than older children, especially when asked “no” and “absent feature” questions; (c) children who report more pain and anxiety, and whose parents describe them as less sociable, evidence higher rates of suggestibility; and (d) after a two month delay, on average, children accurately recalled their pain for the dental event, however, higher trait anxiety scores were associated with higher recollection of experienced pain. The findings are discussed with respect to implications for interviewing children and for management of pain in clinical settings.
question type, recollection, distress, memory, suggestibility, children, individual differences, pain
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)