Examining Stress Indicators in Sexually Abused Children: Canine Companionship during Forensic Interviews

2.50
Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10755/555985
Category:
Abstract
Type:
Research Study
Level of Evidence:
Quasi-Experimental Study, Other
Research Approach:
Pilot/Exploratory Study
Title:
Examining Stress Indicators in Sexually Abused Children: Canine Companionship during Forensic Interviews
Author(s):
Krause-Parello, Cheryl
Lead Author STTI Affiliation:
Alpha Kappa-at-Large
Author Details:
Cheryl A. Krause-Parello, PhD, RN Associate Professor Director, C-P.A.W.W. Canines Providing Assistance to Wounded Warriors Health Research Initiative for Veterans College of Nursing University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus ED 2 North, Mail Stop C288-19 13120 E. 19th Avenue, Aurora, CO 80045 Room 4201 Telephone: 303-724-8282 Fax: 303-724-8338 Email: Cheryl.Krause-Parello@ucdenver.edu Webpage: www.nursing.ucdenver.edu/C-PAWW
Abstract:

Introduction

In 2008, there were 69,184 reported cases of child sexual abuse (CSA) in the United States (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, 2009). According to multiple studies, there is a relationship between CSA, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other emotional and behavioral problems, such as substance abuse, depression, anxiety, anger, self-destructiveness, suicidal behavior, low self-esteem, and difficulties with interpersonal relationships. When CSA is suspected, the child is generally referred to a child advocacy center (CAC). A forensic interview is scheduled by a CAC for a child that has been allegedly abused to determine if abuse has occurred and to gather the details of the event from the child. During the forensic interview, the child may disclose accounts of the abuse in front of a forensic interviewer, essentially a stranger.

Purpose                                                                                                                                                           

The purpose of this study was to examine the psychobiological and behavioral interface between animal-assisted intervention (AAI) and stress indicators during forensic interviews at a CAC in children alleged to have experienced CSA. The goal of the study was to use AAI during the forensic interview of children alleged to have experienced CSA,  to examine the impact of AAI on stress indicators, as associated with traumatic stress, and to determine whether AAI can help provide an environment that decreases stress when children are asked to disclose intimate details of the alleged sexual abuse.

Materials/Methods

In vitro measurements: Cortisol and alpha-amylase were collected using a commercially-available saliva collection device, the Children’s Swab, recommended for collecting saliva in children (Salimetrics, LLC, 2010). Blood pressure (BP) and pulse measurement were collected from each subject by a trained research team member before and after the experimental or control condition, using a digital blood pressure monitor with a child sized cuff. Subjective measures included a child self-report (CSR) scales, interviewer report scales detailed interview form, and qualitative interview data were recorded.

Results/Discussion

There were 53 children who participated in this study with an age range 4-16 (M= 9.10; SD = 3.5) of which 31 were in the experimental condition (AAI in forensic interview) and 22 in the control condition (no AAI in forensic interview).  Over 43% (n= 23) were White or European America, 35 % were African American (n= 19), 2 were Hispanic or Latino, 1 American Indian or Alaskan, and 6 Multiracial, and 2 missing responses. Data were analyzed using SPSS with a level of significance set at p < .05. Paired t-tests were conducted to examine biomarker changes before and after the forensic interview with a facility dog present. The results supported that alpha amylase decreased with the facility dog present in the forensic interview. The mean value before the forensic interview was 166.69 (U/mL) and the value after the forensic interview was 154.49 (U/mL). The results revealed a mean salivary cortisol level 96.84 μg/dL and after cortisol level of 129.022 μg/dL. The children who had the dog present in the forensic interview mean systolic BP was 108.23 (SD 10.14) and after was 109.56 (SD 12.14) and the diastolic BP before the interview was 68.65 (SD 9.14) and after was 66.81 (SD 10.51). In the intervention group children’s pulse decreased when comparing the means before and after the forensic interview. The mean pulse before the interview was 83.52 (SD 9.14) and after 79.52 (SD 12.36). There was a significant drop in pulse before and after the forensic interview t(30) = 2.81, p = .009. A majority of the children in this study reported that AAI during the forensic interview provided comfort, provided support, and companionship. This was also corroborated by the forensic interviewer’s responses.

Conclusion

An empirically validated intervention that reduces stress for children traumatized by sexual abuse can make a significant contribution to the field by reducing psychological and physiological distress during forensic interview. Finding an effect of having a certified handler-canine team available during the forensic interview on physiological measures of stress has real-world value for children, child welfare personnel, and clinical therapists. It is suggested that AAI be expanded to children facing other types of traumatic events and to treatment programs for child survivors of sexual abuse.

Keywords:
Animal-assisted intervention; cortisol; alpha-amylase; forensic interview child sexual abuse
Repository Posting Date:
28-May-2015
Date of Publication:
28-May-2015
Sponsors:
Sigma Theta Tau International
Note:
The Sigma Theta Tau International grant application that funded this research, in whole or in part, was completed by the applicant and peer-reviewed prior to the award of the STTI grant. No further peer-review has taken place upon the completion of the STTI grant final report and its appearance in this repository.; This is an abstract-only submission. If the author has submitted a full-text item based on this abstract, you may find it by browsing the Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository by author. If author contact information is available in this abstract, please feel free to contact him or her with your queries regarding this submission. Alternatively, please contact the conference host, journal, or publisher (according to the circumstance) for further details regarding this item. If a citation is listed in this record, the item has been published and is available via open-access avenues or a journal/database subscription. Contact your library for assistance in obtaining the as-published article.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.type.categoryAbstracten
dc.typeResearch Studyen
dc.evidence.levelQuasi-Experimental Study, Otheren
dc.research.approachPilot/Exploratory Studyen
dc.titleExamining Stress Indicators in Sexually Abused Children: Canine Companionship during Forensic Interviewsen_US
dc.contributor.authorKrause-Parello, Cheryl-
dc.contributor.departmentAlpha Kappa-at-Largeen
dc.author.detailsCheryl A. Krause-Parello, PhD, RN Associate Professor Director, C-P.A.W.W. Canines Providing Assistance to Wounded Warriors Health Research Initiative for Veterans College of Nursing University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus ED 2 North, Mail Stop C288-19 13120 E. 19th Avenue, Aurora, CO 80045 Room 4201 Telephone: 303-724-8282 Fax: 303-724-8338 Email: Cheryl.Krause-Parello@ucdenver.edu Webpage: www.nursing.ucdenver.edu/C-PAWWen_GB
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10755/555985-
dc.description.abstract<p>Introduction</p> <p>In 2008, there were 69,184 reported cases of child sexual abuse (CSA) in the United States (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, 2009). According to multiple studies, there is a relationship between CSA, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other emotional and behavioral problems, such as substance abuse, depression, anxiety, anger, self-destructiveness, suicidal behavior, low self-esteem, and difficulties with interpersonal relationships. When CSA is suspected, the child is generally referred to a child advocacy center (CAC). A forensic interview is scheduled by a CAC for a child that has been allegedly abused to determine if abuse has occurred and to gather the details of the event from the child. During the forensic interview, the child may disclose accounts of the abuse in front of a forensic interviewer, essentially a stranger.</p> <p>Purpose                                                                                                                                                           </p> <p>The purpose of this study was to examine the psychobiological and behavioral interface between animal-assisted intervention (AAI) and stress indicators during forensic interviews at a CAC in children alleged to have experienced CSA. The goal of the study was to use AAI during the forensic interview of children alleged to have experienced CSA,  to examine the impact of AAI on stress indicators, as associated with traumatic stress, and to determine whether AAI can help provide an environment that decreases stress when children are asked to disclose intimate details of the alleged sexual abuse.</p> <p>Materials/Methods</p> <p>In vitro measurements: Cortisol and alpha-amylase were collected using a commercially-available saliva collection device, the Children’s Swab, recommended for collecting saliva in children (Salimetrics, LLC, 2010). Blood pressure (BP) and pulse measurement were collected from each subject by a trained research team member before and after the experimental or control condition, using a digital blood pressure monitor with a child sized cuff. Subjective measures included a child self-report (CSR) scales, interviewer report scales detailed interview form, and qualitative interview data were recorded.</p> <p>Results/Discussion</p> <p>There were 53 children who participated in this study with an age range 4-16 (M= 9.10; SD = 3.5) of which 31 were in the experimental condition (AAI in forensic interview) and 22 in the control condition (no AAI in forensic interview).  Over 43% (n= 23) were White or European America, 35 % were African American (n= 19), 2 were Hispanic or Latino, 1 American Indian or Alaskan, and 6 Multiracial, and 2 missing responses. Data were analyzed using SPSS with a level of significance set at p < .05. Paired t-tests were conducted to examine biomarker changes before and after the forensic interview with a facility dog present. The results supported that alpha amylase decreased with the facility dog present in the forensic interview. The mean value before the forensic interview was 166.69 (U/mL) and the value after the forensic interview was 154.49 (U/mL). The results revealed a mean salivary cortisol level 96.84 μg/dL and after cortisol level of 129.022 μg/dL. The children who had the dog present in the forensic interview mean systolic BP was 108.23 (SD 10.14) and after was 109.56 (SD 12.14) and the diastolic BP before the interview was 68.65 (SD 9.14) and after was 66.81 (SD 10.51). In the intervention group children’s pulse decreased when comparing the means before and after the forensic interview. The mean pulse before the interview was 83.52 (SD 9.14) and after 79.52 (SD 12.36). There was a significant drop in pulse before and after the forensic interview t(30) = 2.81, p = .009. A majority of the children in this study reported that AAI during the forensic interview provided comfort, provided support, and companionship. This was also corroborated by the forensic interviewer’s responses.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>An empirically validated intervention that reduces stress for children traumatized by sexual abuse can make a significant contribution to the field by reducing psychological and physiological distress during forensic interview. Finding an effect of having a certified handler-canine team available during the forensic interview on physiological measures of stress has real-world value for children, child welfare personnel, and clinical therapists. It is suggested that AAI be expanded to children facing other types of traumatic events and to treatment programs for child survivors of sexual abuse.</p>en_GB
dc.subjectAnimal-assisted interventionen_GB
dc.subjectcortisolen_GB
dc.subjectalpha-amylaseen_GB
dc.subjectforensic interview child sexual abuseen_GB
dc.date.available2015-05-28T19:19:01Z-
dc.date.issued2015-05-28-
dc.date.accessioned2015-05-28T19:19:01Z-
dc.description.sponsorshipSigma Theta Tau Internationalen_GB
dc.description.noteThe Sigma Theta Tau International grant application that funded this research, in whole or in part, was completed by the applicant and peer-reviewed prior to the award of the STTI grant. No further peer-review has taken place upon the completion of the STTI grant final report and its appearance in this repository.en
dc.description.noteThis is an abstract-only submission. If the author has submitted a full-text item based on this abstract, you may find it by browsing the Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository by author. If author contact information is available in this abstract, please feel free to contact him or her with your queries regarding this submission. Alternatively, please contact the conference host, journal, or publisher (according to the circumstance) for further details regarding this item. If a citation is listed in this record, the item has been published and is available via open-access avenues or a journal/database subscription. Contact your library for assistance in obtaining the as-published article.-
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