Preschool child development: Implications for investigation of child abuse allegations

Abigail B. Sivan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Allegations of mistreatment by adults made by children of preschool age are often dismissed as fictitious with the suggestion that children of this age are prone to fantasy and unable to discriminate fact from fiction. This paper is intended to familiarize those with a general concern about child abuse with the research and theories in child development. Specifically, it reviews those aspects of normal child development which have direct relevance to the question of the veracity of reports made by children ages 2 to 5 years. Examination of the research on children's thought and language, memory and learning, fears, fantasy, and play, as well as the research on the influence of television on children of this age, led to the conclusion that preschoolers base their play on the reality of their experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)485-493
Number of pages9
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Abuse allegations
  • Child abuse
  • Child development
  • Child maltreatment
  • Preschool

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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