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The narrative assessment of attachment: validity of the Secure Base Script Test for middle childhood

Lunds universitet/Institutionen för psykologi
Publication Date
  • Social Sciences


Psouni and Apetroaia (2010) have recently introduced the Secure Base Script Test,SBST, for middle childhood. Based on Waters and Rodrigues-Doolabh’s (2004)Narrative Script Assessment for assessing secure base script knowledge in adults,Psouni and Apetroaia’s method is a narrative task in which children create short narratives by making use of four prompt word outlines that loosely suggest prototypical storylines implying secure base interactions with parents and peers. Transcribed narratives are scored on a 7-point scale to reflect the relative degree of scripted knowledge of secure base interactions children have used to organize their narratives. A major advantage of the method is the ease with which it can be administered and scored, making it suitable for the testing of large subject samples. An additional advantage is the method’s ability to directly tap into attachment related representations at the level of specific cognitive architectures (Waters & Waters,2004). Though initial studies using the SBST show good internal consistency and strong inter-rater reliability, the instruments’ convergent and discriminant validity has not been established. The present study aimed at (1) establishing convergent validity of the SBST by assessing whether the SBST was linked to a modified version of the Security Scale, a questionnaire method developed for use with children in middle childhood, and (2) establishing discriminant validity for the SBST by assessing whether verbal creativity confounded children’s secure base script knowledge as a source of secure base narrative in children’s stories. We found no association between the SBST and the modified version of the Security Scale. A post hoc analysis of children’s Security Scale data revealed that children who deliberated more over their responses to the instrument’s items were more negative in their appraisals of attachment relationships than those who responded without significant deliberation. We examined whether this finding supported the idea that children who responded without deliberation may have done so in order to defensively exclude attachmentrelated material when responding to the instrument’s items. We found only marginal support for this possibility however. Verbal creativity did not appear to influence raters’ perception of subjects’ scriptedness. This result however is tempered by concerns regarding the validity of one of the two methods used to score verbal creativity.

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