Parent-child Attachment Tool: Child Custody Evaluations

Period of Performance: 09/21/2001 - 09/20/2002


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Psychological Health Associates, Inc.
Reno, NV 89509
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION: The present research is a feasibility study concerning the development of an assessment tool to measure parent-child attachment in child custody evaluations. This research aims to provide the mental health and legal fields with a feasible, economical, efficient, and empirically sound assessment tool. The concept of the "psychological parent" or parent-child attachment has become prominent in many states' laws leading mental health professional to measure the bond between each parent and child. This assessment tool will be developed using an empirical method of test construction. The goals of this project include 1) developing test items related to attachment as well as the inclusion of social desirability and validity scales, 2) evaluating content validity, 3) evaluating internal consistency reliability, and 4) evaluating convergent and discriminate validity. During test construction, the items included will include the domain of attachment, social desirability items, distracter items, and validity items. Content validity will be established through expert consultation. Internal consistency reliability will be calculated. Convergent validity will be ascertained through comparison of the tool with other assessment devices measuring the same construct. Discriminate validity will be assessed through the relation of test score to scores on a school achievement scale and social desirability scale. Phase II studies will investigate the concurrent and predictive validity of the tool, as well as increase its ethnic diversity (e.g. development of a Spanish version and cross-validation). Further Phase II studies will develop instruments to measure other key constructs (i.e. parenting skills and emotional stability of the parent, etc.) relevant to making child placement decisions. Reviewer comments and resultant changes are discussed. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: NOT AVAILABLE