Background Information

Research has shown that child abduction is a major problem in our society, the vast majority of young children are susceptible, and that abductions may be prevented by teaching children to resist enticements. The goal in this study was to teach children, upon being enticed by stranger, to say "No, I have to go ask my teacher" and then to quickly run away. The experimenter wanted to evaluate the effectiveness of a 20-minute interactive videotape program that was specially designed to teach children these behaviors in a school setting. She selected for subjects students in first grade classes at an elementary school, all of whom participated with parental consent.

In the Experimental condition, children viewed the interactive video; in the Control condition, children viewed a cartoon of equal duration having nothing to do with child abduction.

A Generalization Probe tested what each child would do in a potential abduction situation. While the children were silently working on their math homework, a new student teacher removed the children from class, individually, under the pretense of participating in sports. The student teacher pretended to forget something and left the child alone in the school yard. A stranger approached the child, made small talk, and then attempted to lure the child into his car by promising treats. When the stranger walked away (with or without child), the student teacher called out the child's name and the stranger moved quickly out of sight. The child was then returned to class. The roles of student teacher and stranger were played by graduate students of the experimenter.

For purposes of data analysis, a score of zero was given if a child went with the abductor, a score of one if the child stayed nearby with no refusal, a score of two if the child stayed nearby but verbally refused, a score of three if the child ran away with no refusal, and a score of four if the child ran away and verbally refused.

Related Source: Poche, Yoder, & Miltenberger, 1988.