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25-04-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 1/2016

Journal of Child and Family Studies 1/2016

Assessing Early Memories of Threat and Subordination: Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the Early Life Experiences Scale for Adolescents

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 1/2016
José Pinto Gouveia, Ana Xavier, Marina Cunha


The Early Life Experiences Scale (ELES) is a self-report questionnaire that assesses personal feelings of perceived threat and submissiveness in interactions within family. This paper presents the adaptation and validation of the ELES in Portuguese language for adolescents. The sample was composed of 771 adolescents from community schools with ages between 13 and 18 years old. Along with ELES, participants also answered the Early Memories of Warmth and Safeness Scale and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule for Children and Adolescents. Confirmatory factor analysis was performed to test the factor structure of the ELES and results confirm a three-factor structure, composed by Threat, Submissiveness and Unvalued dimensions. These emotional memories focused on perceived threat, submissiveness and unvalued seem to have a distinct nature. The scale also showed adequate internal consistency, good test–retest reliability and convergent validity with measures of positive emotional memories, positive and negative affect. There were sex differences for threat subscale and age differences for submissiveness subscale. Overall, these findings suggest that the ELES in its Portuguese version for adolescents may be a useful tool for research, educational and clinical contexts with school-aged adolescents.

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