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Reassessing the validity of the attachment Q-sort: An updated meta-analysis

Cadman, T; Diamond, PR; Fearon, P; (2018) Reassessing the validity of the attachment Q-sort: An updated meta-analysis. Infant and Child Development , 27 (1) , Article e2034. 10.1002/icd.2034. Green open access

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Abstract

A 2004 meta-analysis reported good validity for the observer attachment Q-sort (AQS), but poor validity for the parental self-report version. Despite this, the self-report AQS is still widely used, with researchers arguing that providing additional training can improve its validity. The aim of this study was to update the 2004 meta-analysis. Two hundred forty-five studies from 1987 to 2016 were included (n = 32,426). Separate meta-analyses were conducted to examine validity and reliability. The observer AQS showed moderate convergent validity with the Strange Situation Procedure (r = .25; r = .39 for long observation periods) and good predictive validity in terms of associations with sensitivity (r = .32). It showed a relatively weak association with infant temperament (r = .21), suggesting some discriminant validity. The self-report version showed comparable convergent validity with Strange Situation Procedure (r = .18), but significantly weaker correlations with sensitivity (r = .25) and stronger correlations with temperament (r = .33). There was no evidence that providing additional training improved the validity of the self-report version. This study corroborates the previous finding that the observer AQS is a valid measure of infant attachment, especially after long periods of observation. The self-report version showed significantly weaker discriminant and predictive validity.

Type: Article
Title: Reassessing the validity of the attachment Q-sort: An updated meta-analysis
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/icd.2034
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1002/icd.2034
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: AQS; attachment; attachment Q-set; attachment Q-sort; meta-analysis
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
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
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1557289
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