The Brief Attachment Scale (BAS-16): Towards a short measure of infant attachment

Tim Cadman, Peter R Diamond, Pasco Fearon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


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 NICHD 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 (SSP). Correlations with sensitivity, externalising and social competence were also examined. Results: A shortened measure (the BAS-16) was created consisting of two scales of eight items, relating to (i) harmonious interaction with the caregiver and (ii) 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 good potential as a screening measure for insecure attachment in infancy. Further development and validation is required.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChild: Care, Health and Development
Publication statusSubmitted - 2018

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