Attachment Assessment Service

The Child Attachment Interview (CAI) was originally developed as a research tool rather than as a clinical, diagnostic tool for work with individual children The CAI is therefore just one of several methods available to assess the quality of children’s attachment experience. The CAI is a semi-structured interview for use with children aged 8 to 15. The procedure midly activates the child’s attachment in that the child meets a stranger in unfamiliar surroundings. The interview takes approximately 30–40 minutes and is filmed for later coding. There is a standard protocol and the interviewer asks direct questions.

This is not a therapeutic procedure. It seeks to establish the child’s experience of current or recent past caregivers.

Nine scales are used in coding the interview:

  1. Emotional openness
  2. Use of examples
  3. Balance
  4. Pre-occupied anger / anxiety
  5. Dismissal / derogation
  6. Coherence
  7. Idealisation
  8. Resolution of conflict
  9. Disorganisation

The value of the Child Attachment Interview lies less in the scoring mechanism and more in how it reveals the child’s experience of the selected carers.

Please use the contact form to arrange a discussion.

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