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Child Dev. 2010 Nov-Dec;81(6):1714-28. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01505.x.

Children's reasoning about disclosing adult transgressions: effects of maltreatment, child age, and adult identity.

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  • 1University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0071, USA.


A total of two hundred ninety-nine 4- to 9-year-old maltreated and nonmaltreated children of comparable socioeconomic status and ethnicity judged whether children should or would disclose unspecified transgressions of adults (instigators) to other adults (recipients) in scenarios varying the identity of the instigator (stranger or parent), the identity of the recipient (parent, police, or teacher), and the severity of the transgression ("something really bad" or "something just a little bad"). Children endorsed more disclosure against stranger than parent instigators and less disclosure to teacher than parent and police recipients. The youngest maltreated children endorsed less disclosure than nonmaltreated children, but the opposite was true among the oldest children. Older maltreated children distinguished less than nonmaltreated children between parents and other types of instigators and recipients.

© 2010 The Authors. Child Development © 2010 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.

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