A New Publication by Lianne Bakkum et al.

Recently, our paper ‘Exploring the meaning of unresolved loss and trauma in more than 1,000 Adult Attachment Interviews’ was published in Development and Psychopathology. In this paper, we report on the psychometric validity of the rating category of ‘unresolved loss/trauma’ of the Adult Attachment Interview. The Adult Attachment Interview is a semi-structured interview about relationships with attachment figures (such as parents), developed in the 1980s. Unresolved loss/trauma is coded on the basis of incoherent and disorganised speech about loss or childhood abuse. Despite that the instrument has been widely used for over three decades, the 32 speech indicators for coding unresolved loss/trauma had not been psychometrically validated in other study samples than the one used to develop the coding scale. In this study, we used individual participant data from 1,009 adults to examine associations between the indicators of unresolved loss/trauma and the overall rating category of unresolved loss/trauma. Using predictive modelling, we found that two indicators of unresolved loss/trauma were especially important for prediction of the overall category. Twenty-two indicators were especially rare in our sample. Our findings suggest that the scale for rating unresolved loss/trauma has been overfitted to the development sample, and provide directions for further innovation and articulation of the Adult Attachment Interview coding system.

Lianne Bakkum


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