An exploration of different approaches to measuring attachment in middle childhood: The Child Attachment Interview and the School-Age Assessment of Attachment

  • Summary

    Whilst assessing attachment reliably and validly in middle childhood continues to present a challenge, the importance of identifying attachment difficulties and hence risk at this age has not diminished. There are diverse approaches to measurement but eliciting attachment-related narratives seems to hold some promise. The School-Age Assessment of Attachment (SAA; Crittenden & Landini, 1999) and the Child Attachment Interview (CAI; Shmueli-Goetz, Target, Datta, & Fonagy, 2008) are two measures that both call on children to produce attachment-related narratives though there are some notable differences between the measures. Both approaches clearly have merit but could be strengthened by further development and validation. We have been meeting regularly and reviewing CAIs and SAAs for some time but are now in a position to undertake a small scale study with the aim of rigorously and systematically evaluating areas of convergence and divergence of the two measures. The long term goal would be to establish whether there is a way of integrating the two measures in order to develop a valid tool that could be widely taught and reliably used by a range of professionals and in diverse settings.    

  • Project team

    Leading project:


    Yael Shmueli-Goetz


    External Partners:


    Danya Glaser, Patricia Crittenden, Andrea Landini, Adrian Datta