Validity of the School-age Assessment of Attachment for moderate-risk, rural early adolescents

Shari L. Kidwell, Kayla M. Sizemore, Jin Qu, Katelyn M. Fugate, Michelle S. Deaton, Morgan D. Blevins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: This study provides evidence of validity of the School-age Assessment of Attachment (SAA) through longitudinal comparison with the Preschool Assessment of Attachment (PAA) and with concurrent attachment assessments and measures of risk and parenting. Determining which assessment had the greatest validity with this moderate-risk sample would be of benefit to those working with troubled young people and their families. Hypotheses: Children's SAA classifications were expected to correspond to their PAA, a behavioral attachment assessment, parenting, and risk. An attachment questionnaire was predicted to not accurately indicate children's risk status. Design: The design was an 8-year longitudinal follow-up of rural Appalachian American preschoolers. Method: The participants were 21 children and their caregivers. The PAA was completed at age 4. The SAA, a self-report questionnaire, and a parent-child conflict resolution task were completed at age 12. Parents completed assessments of depression, trauma, stress, and perceptions of helplessness. Results: The PAA was related to the SAA and the dyadic behavioral task. The SAA was consistently associated with measures of parenting and family risk. The attachment questionnaire performed poorly for children with higher risk status, suggesting more (not less) sensitive and responsive parenting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)366-380
Number of pages15
JournalClinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 11 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


  • adolescent
  • Attachment
  • Dynamic-Maturational Model of Attachment and Adaptation (DMM)
  • school age
  • School-age Assessment of Attachment (SAA)


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