|dc.description.abstract||This study describes and evaluates the possible stress experience of a child in his/her middle–childhood years during an social work interview in forensic practice. The possible use of a music intervention was investigated in order to alleviate the stress levels of a child while being interviewed. The function of a social worker in forensic practice is to gain information from the alledged victim about the alleged abuse during two to at the most three interviews. Various factors may influence this process. Children undergoing a forensic assessment are possibly experiencing residual stress as a result of the trauma he/she has experienced, his/her cognitive appraisal of the event, or the interview itself. Furthermore, the cognitive development of a child in the middle–childhood years also influences his/her statement.
The research was aimed at determining:
– the presence of stress in a child while being interviewed in forensic practice
– whether the introduction of a music intervention during the interview in forensic practice can alleviate the stress levels of a child
– whether a lower stress level in a child results in a more complete and applicable statement
The experimental and the control group consisted of six participants each. They were obtained from the case load of the researcher. Participants were allocated to the experimental and control group alternatively in the order in which they were referred for assessment. The participants of the experimental group were exposed to Mozart’s serenade, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (Serenata no 13 in G major). The participants of the control group were not exposed to a music intervention.
The data collection included:
– Pulse and blood pressure measurement
– A self–developed stress scale to evaluate the participants' bodily experience of stress
– A self–developed rating scale to determine the participants' non–verbal stress–related behaviour
– A self–developed rating scale to measure the qualitative aspect of the participants' statements
The research results cannot be generalised due to the small test sample group. However, certain tendencies could be identified. According to the research results a child in his/her middle–childhood years does not experience excessive stress during interviews in forensic practice. This finding is based on the fact that the pulse and blood pressure measurements were within normal limits. However, the pulse rate of the experimental group was lower during the post–measurement. This could indicate that, to a certain extent, the experimental group's participants felt more relaxed. In addition, the presence of a music intervention had a positive effect on the behaviour of the experimental group's participants during the interviews, in that their behaviour was less disruptive. This may indicate that they felt more relaxed during the interview. The presence of a music intervention during interviews in forensic practice also appears to lead to a slightly better quality of statements. If a better quality statement can be obtained from the child it will result in better service to the courts and, indirectly, to the child. Further studies should follow up on these tendencies.||en_US