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Infant mental health and health visitors: The development of a brief parent-to-infant attachment based questionnaire

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  • Design
  • Psychology


This thesis describes the development of a parent-to-infant attachment based questionnaire for use by health visitors as a discussion tool. An interpretive methodology was followed incorporating a sequential multi-method design. The original purpose of the study, to develop an attachment screening tool, changed due to reflexive decision making and the impact of changes in service delivery. This presented an opportunity to develop a tool that supported focused conversation between health visitors and parents about early relationships. Parallels between parent infant relationships and health visitor parent relationships were identified in four parent focus groups and four health visitor interviews. The resulting data were used to inform the development of the pilot questionnaire. Five parent-to-infant attachment relationship constructs were developed from attachment theory and current practice in infant mental health. These were combined with parent terminology preferences, and formed into a twenty-five item questionnaire. The twenty-five item questionnaire was used to collect data from twelve parents. Statistical testing on twenty-four test-retest completions of the tool resulted in a ten-item discussion tool that showed face and construct validity. Evidence of acceptability to practitioners and parents was gathered using a health visitor survey.

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