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

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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.


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.


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.


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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