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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Brief Attachment Scale (BAS-16): A short measure of infant attachment.

  • Author(s): Cadman, Tim
  • Belsky, Jay
  • Pasco Fearon, Richard M
  • et al.

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BACKGROUND:Insecure attachment in infancy is associated with a range of later socioemotional problems; therefore, it is important to identify at-risk children so that support can be provided. However, there are currently no well-validated brief measures of infant attachment. The aim of this study is to create a brief version of the Attachment Q-Sort (AQS), one of the gold-standard measures of attachment. METHOD:Data was used from the National Institute of Child Health and Development Study of Child Care and Youth Development (N = 1,364). The factor structure of the AQS was explored, and Item Response Theory was used to select a reduced number of items. Convergent validity of the shortened measure was assessed through associations with the Strange Situation Procedure. Correlations with sensitivity, externalising, and social competence were also examined. RESULTS:The Brief Attachment Scale (BAS-16) was created consisting of two scales of eight items, relating to (a) harmonious interaction with the caregiver and (b) proximity-seeking behaviours. The BAS-16 showed comparable convergent, discriminant, and concurrent validity to the full AQS. CONCLUSION:This brief version of the AQS shows potential as a screening measure for insecure attachment in infancy. Further development and validation is required in separate samples.

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