Assessment of attachment in foster and adoptive dyads.




Schofield, Diana W.

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The Working Model of the Child Interview (WMCI) is a structured interview that elicits rich information about caregivers' internal representations of their children and the quality of the relationship within the parent-child dyad. This instrument is particularly useful in the assessment of foster and adoptive dyads in order to determine goodness of fit and prevent placement disruption by identifying problematic dynamics that threaten the relationship. Because the training and administration costs of the WMCI are immense, it is impractical for use in foster and adoption agencies. This preliminary investigation sought to validate a screening battery of brief, cost-efficient measures (This Is My Baby Interview (TIMB), Parenting Locus of Control-Short Form (PLOCSF), Revised Inventory of Parent Attachment (RIPA), Relationship Questionnaire (RQ), and the Behavior Assessment System for Children, Second Edition, Parent Rating Scales (BASC-2))against the WMCI using 44 caregiver-child dyads. Participants were recruited from public and private foster care and adoption agencies. Child participants ranged from age 2 ½ to 9 years old, and had lived with their caregivers for at least four months. Nonparametric tests (Kruskal-Wallis and chi-square), oneway ANOVA, and post hoc analyses were used to assess the differences in scores between caregiver classifications on the WMCI and fourteen variables measured by the screening interview and questionnaires. The Commitment subscale of the TIMB distinguished Disengaged-Suppressed caregivers from other groups (F=2.96, p<0.5), and the variable of Locus of Control from the PLOCSF was found to distinguish Distorted caregivers from the Balanced-Strained group (KWt=8.22, p<.05). The Internalizing Symptoms Index of the BASC-2 did not emerge as statistically significant but may indicate a trend in that Disengaged-Suppressed caregivers may rate their children as having fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression than caregivers from other WMCI classifications. The WMCI is a rich assessment instrument that may be difficult to break down and capture via screening measures; the results of this study indicated that the TIMB andPLOCSF possibly may be useful in capturing some of the information elicited by the WMCI with highest risk caregiver classifications (Disengaged-Suppressed and Distorted). Future investigation of caregiver contributions to the dyad's functioning is warranted with different screening measures, and should be conducted with a larger sample size for maximal results.


Includes bibliographical references (p. 65-77).