Discriminant validity of the adult attachment interview.Child Dev. 1996 Oct; 67(5):2584-99.CD
The Adult Attachment Interview is a semi-structured interview developed to investigate adults' attachment representations. Subjects are asked to describe their parents as caregivers, explain these descriptions, describe how their parents typically responded to distress, and discuss their current relationships with their parents. They are also asked to describe any significant losses and/or instances of abuse during childhood. Scoring focuses on the accessibility of early experiences to memory and the coherence and plausibility of the subject's narrative. Discriminant validity is always an important issue with such measures because IQ and other cognitively loaded variables offer plausible alternative interpretations or represent important correlates that should be treated as covariates when the measure is used. In addition, complex, multifaceted interviews always pose the risk of assessing general social adjustment rather than a more narrowly defined construct. This study examines the discriminant validity of the AAI vis(-)à-vis intelligence, social desirability, discourse style, and general social adjustment in a sample of 53 native-English-speaking, married women with preschool children. They were assessed with the AAI, a written IQ test, the Social Adjustment Scale, the Employment Experience Interview (discourse style), and a measure of social desirability. There were modest but significant correlations with IQ scores and social adjustment. There was no relation between AAI classifications and discourse style or social desirability. These results substantially strengthen the case for interpreting the AAI as an attachment-related measure.