Infants Assessment of Attachment

The CARE-Index

The CARE-Index is the simplest and most versatile of the attachment measures. It assesses mother-infant interaction from birth to about two years of age based on a short, videotaped play interaction of 3-5 minutes. Once the coder is trained, coding of an interaction takes about 15-20 minutes. The measure assesses mothers on three scales: sensitivity, covert and overt hostility, and unresponsiveness. There are also four scales for infants: cooperativeness, compulsive compliance, difficultness, and passivity. These scales tend to be related to the maternal scales in the order listed. The scales
  1. Are highly correlated with the infant Strange Situation assessment patterns of attachment 
  2. Differentiate abusing from neglecting, abusing-and-neglecting, marginally maltreating, and adequate dyads 
  3. Can be used during intervention,
  4. Can be used to assess the effectiveness of intervention. 
The information derived from the CARE-Index can be used as quasi-continuous or categorical data by researchers. In addition, however, the procedure is easily applied to "live" observations made by nurses, infant teachers, clinicians, and social workers. Needless to say, such observations cannot be treated as reliable when video is not used, but the method is effective in the same way that other guided observations or interviews are; furthermore, specific training of what to look for sharpens both one's observation and one's ability to tell others exactly what the dyad did and why it should be interpreted in a particular manner.

Infant Strange Situation

The Infant Strange Situation is an instrument for assessing quality of attachment in 11-17-month-old infants. The procedure was developed by Mary Ainsworth and has been expanded by both Mary Main and Judith Solomon (who added the notion of disorganization) and also by Patricia M. Crittenden (who added the A/C and pre-compulsive classifications). The Ainsworth Infant Strange Situation involves a 20-minute laboratory procedure and takes three people to carry out (plus the child and mother). Classification is based on careful review of the videotape and takes approximately one-half hour per videotape.

Dynamic-Maturational Classifications in Infancy

The classificatory system includes all of the categories of the original infant procedure (i.e., A1-2, B1-4, C1-2), plus several patterns that identified by others, specifically, disorganization, A/C, and pre-compulsive patterns. These additions make the system suitable for a wider range of cultures and home environments, particularly those with risk for psychopathology. 

Attachment at other ages
Courses in Attachment