infant strange situation

Overview course: Infant strange situation
Assessing quality of attachment in 11-17-month-old infants

Family Relations Institute

Mary D. Salter Ainsworth

The Infant Strange Situation is an instrument for assessing quality of attachment in 11-17-month-old infants. The procedure was developed by Mary D. Salter 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

infancy attachment

Attachment in infancy
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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.

Training courses

The 5-day course is taught from videotapes and depends upon both maternal and child behavior. Non-verbal behavior, interpersonal strategies, and developmental processes are emphasized. The course includes a preliminary reliability test based on a standardized set of American mother-child dyads.

During the course, participants generate a set of videotapes that reflect their intended applications and culture(s). These tapes are used to assess the participant's competence in administering the procedure. As with all courses offered by Dr. Crittenden, participants are given a written and signed statement of their percent agreement with the standard. This reliability can be reported in research articles. Evidence of reliability should be requested if the participant will code data for another researcher.

To inquire about the course in general, interested parties can contact Dr. Crittenden directly. To register for courses, individuals should check the training section listed on this web site and contact the relevant organizer. Dr. Crittenden does not handle registration or fee payment. Requests to run a new course can be directed to Dr. Crittenden.

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