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The relevance and usefulness of the Implicit Associations Test (IAT) in adolescent development, attachment and depression

Lorenzini, N; (2016) The relevance and usefulness of the Implicit Associations Test (IAT) in adolescent development, attachment and depression. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis focuses on the Implicit Associations Test (IAT), as a measure of implicit cognition aiming to tap distortions of cognitive processing by unconsciously held personal and interpersonal attitudes and beliefs. Classically, IAT had revealed delays in processing of information when dissonant attitudes were activated, even when the participant denied these attitudes. It is a popular measure, but there is little scientific consensus about its value and reliably to detect individual differences across a number of domains. This thesis examined the validity if the IAT in a number of clinical contexts attempting to test its clinical relevance and practical usefulness as a psychometric instrument. The thesis contains 5 empirical studies: 1) Attachment transmission: The test is administered to a sample of mothers with infants of 1 year of age. IAT was used to measure the mother’s implicit attitudes towards attachment relationships and parenting in general and its capacity accurately to predict other measures of attachment, parenting, and psychopathology. In this context, the IAT resulted to be of little value. 2) A newly developed version of the IAT with the potential to measure implicit self-esteem was administered to a large sample of adolescents (14-24 y-o) to test the prediction that implicit self-esteem measured with the IAT is robust to age and gender of the sample. 3, and 5) Depression: Three studies aimed to validate the SE-IAT in the context of depression. The first assessed the ability of the SE-IAT to discriminate between depressed and non-depressed patients. The second study, cross-validated the SE-IAT against several other psychometric instruments in this depressed sample. The third study aimed to assess the value of the SE-IAT to predict and monitor individual gains in the psychotherapy for depression. The SE-IAT is useful at calculating discrepancies between explicit and implicit self-esteem to predict internalizing disorders.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The relevance and usefulness of the Implicit Associations Test (IAT) in adolescent development, attachment and depression
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: implicit associations test, IAT, self-esteem, SE-IAT, depression, attitudes, implicit, psychometric
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1492717
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