The SAA consists of cards, such as those used by the SAT, that address threats that school-aged children frequently
face or imagine facing.
The interview protocol asks for an imagined story about the child on the card and then recall of a similar episode in the responding child's life. For each story, the child gives the sequence of events (cognition) and the child's feelings (affect), the child's thoughts about attachment figures' thoughts and feelings (perspective-taking and theory of mind), and reasons why the child did what he or she did and ideas about what they might do in the future (concrete reflective functioning regarding the self).
The interview is audiotaped and transcribed. The transcript is then annotated for specific discourse markers in each of the six memory systems; the discourse markers are derived from the DMM method for analyzing the Adult Attachment Interview (Crittenden, 1999a) adapted to fit the speech patterns of school-aged children.
Using written guidelines, each SAA protocol is assigned to one of the DMM classifications.