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26-03-2016 | Original Article | Uitgave 2/2017 Open Access

Child Psychiatry & Human Development 2/2017

Assessing Attachment Representations in Adolescents: Discriminant Validation of the Adult Attachment Projective Picture System

Child Psychiatry & Human Development > Uitgave 2/2017
Manuela Gander, Carol George, Dan Pokorny, Anna Buchheim


The contribution of attachment to human development and clinical risk is well established for children and adults, yet there is relatively limited knowledge about attachment in adolescence due to the poor availability of construct valid measures. The Adult Attachment Projective Picture System (AAP) is a reliable and valid instrument to assess adult attachment status. This study examines for the first time the discriminant validity of the AAP in adolescents. In our sample of 79 teenagers between 15 and 18 years, 42 % were classified as secure, 34 % as insecure-dismissing, 13 % as insecure-preoccupied and 11 % as unresolved. The results demonstrated discriminant validity for using the AAP in that age group, with no associations between attachment classifications and verbal intelligence, social desirability, story length or sociodemographic variables. These results poise the AAP to be used in clinical intervention and large-scale research investigating normative and atypical developmental correlates and sequelae of attachment, including psychopathology in adolescence.

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