Preschool Assessment of Attachment (PAA)
Duration: 10 days
The Preschool Assessment of Attachment (PAA) is an instrument for assessing patterns of attachment in 18-month to five-year-old children*. The procedure involves a dynamic-maturational expansion of the Ainsworth classificatory method (Crittenden, 1992). Like the Ainsworth Strange Situation for infants, the PAA involves a 20-minute laboratory procedure and takes three people to carry out (plus the child and mother). Classification is based on careful review of the videotape and takes approximately one-half hour per videotape.
DMM Mode - Preschool Assessment of Attachment
Dynamic-Maturational Classifications in the Preschool Years
The classificatory system includes all of the categories of the infant procedure (i.e., A1-2, B1-4, C1-2, A/C), plus several patterns that develop during or after the preoperational shift at the end of the second year of life. Specifically, Ainsworth’s three basic strategies for negotiating interpersonal relationships are modified to fit preschoolers’ more sophisticated mental skills and organizations of behavior. Thus, the patterns are renamed as secure/balanced (Type B), defended (Type A) and coercive (Type C).
With the addition of several new subpatterns, the PAA sets the stage for the even more complex patterns of behavior that are observed at later ages, especially in the school years. Furthermore, a particular advantage of the expanded classificatory system used in the PAA as compared to other classificatory systems is that it differentiates “unendangered” A1-2 and C1-2 children from those using the compulsive (A+) and obsessive (C+) subpatterns. These patterns, i.e, the compulsive caregiving A3, compulsive compliant A4, aggressive C3 and feigned helpless C4 subpatterns, identify the children most likely to come from troubled homes and most likely to experience psychological, social, developmental, and learning problems. These coercive and defended subpatterns as well as the compulsive/obsessive A/C pattern have implications for emotional and behavioral problems that develop during the preschool and school years.
The two-week course is taught from videotapes and depends upon both maternal and child behavior. Non-verbal behavior, interpersonal strategies, and developmental processes are emphasized. The course includes a preliminary reliability test based on a standardized set of American mother-child dyads. During the course, participants generate a set of videotapes that reflect their intended applications and culture(s). These tapes are used to assess the participant’s competence in administering the procedure.
As with all courses offered by Dr. Crittenden, participants are given a written and signed statement of their percent agreement with the standard. This reliability can be reported in research articles. Evidence of reliability should be requested if the participant will code data for another researcher.
To inquire about the course in general, interested parties can contact Dr. Crittenden directly. To register for courses, individuals should check the training section listed on this web page and contact the relevant organizer. Dr. Crittenden does not handle registration or fee payment. Requests to run a new course can be directed to Dr. Crittenden.
* The period from 15-21 months must be interpolated between the Ainsworth infancy and the preschool systems.
Studies using the Preschool Assessment of Attachment (PAA)
- Barnett, D., Butler, C. M., & Vondra J. I. (1999). Atypical patterns of early attachment: Discussion and future directions. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 64 (3), 119-144.
- Chisholm, K. (1998). A three year follow-up of attachment and indiscriminate friendliness in children adopted from Romanian orphanages.Child Development, 69, (4), 1090-1104.
- Chisholm, K. (2000). Attachment in children adopted from Romanian orphanages: Two case studies. In P. M. Crittenden & A. H. Claussen (Eds.), The organization of attachment relationships: Maturation, culture, and context. New York: Cambridge University Press.
- Claussen, A. H., & Anderson, W. (April, 1997). Attachment in children prenatally exposed to cocaine: Disorganization and the emergence of new subpatterns of attachment. Paper presented in P. M. Crittenden (Chair), Continuity and change in quality of attachment: A dynamic-maturational model and expanded classificatory system. Symposium conducted at the Biennial meeting of the Society for Research on Child Development, Washington, D.C.
- Crittenden, P. M. (1988-1994). Preschool Assessment of Attachment Manual. Unpublished manuscript available from the author.
- Crittenden, P. M. (1992). Quality of attachment in the preschool years. Development and Psychopathology, 4, 209-241.
- Crittenden, P. M. (1999). Danger and development: The organization of self-protective strategies. In J. I. Vondra and D. Barnett (Eds.),Atypical attachment in infancy and early childhood among children at developmental risk. Monographs of the Society for Research on Child Development (pp. 145-171).
- Fagot, B., & Pears, K. (1996). From infancy to seven years: Continuities and change. Development and Psychopathology, 8, 325-344.
- Head, T., & Williams, T. M. (March, 1995). Children’s and their parents’ conceptualizations of attachment. Paper presented in the symposium “Quality of attachment in the preschool years,” Society for Research in Child Development, Indianapolis, IN.
- Lippe, A. von der, & Crittenden, P. M. (2000). Patterns of attachment in young Egyptian children. In P. M. Crittenden & A. H. Claussen (Eds.), The organization of attachment relationships: Maturation, culture, and context. New York: Cambridge University Press.
- MacBeth, T. M., Head, T., & Clark, M. (August, 1996). A new measure of children’s conceptualizations of their primary attachment relationships. Poster, XIVth Biennial Conference of the International Society for Behavioral Development, Quebec City.
- Moilanen, I., Kunelius, A., Tirkkonnen, T. & Crittenden, P. (2000). Attachment in Finnish twins. In P. M. Crittenden & A. H. Claussen (Eds.),The organization of attachment relationships: Maturation, culture, and context. New York: Cambridge University Press.
- Moore, L., Crawford, F., & Lester, J. (under review). Security of attachment at 30 months: Maternal infant, and family variables. Presented in the symposium ‘Quality of attachment in the preschool years,’ organized by P.M. Crittenden, International Conference on Infant Studies, Paris, June, 1994.
- Rauh, H., Ziegenhain, U., M¸ller, B., Wijnroks, L. (2000). Stability and change in infant-mother attachment in the second year of life: Relations to parenting quality and varying degrees of daycare experience. In P. M. Crittenden & A. H. Claussen (Eds.), The organization of attachment relationships: Maturation, culture, and context. New York: Cambridge University Press.
- Shaw, D. S., Owens, E. B., Vondra, J. I., Keenan, K. (1996). Early risk factors and pathways in the development of early disruptive behavior problems. Development and Psychopathology, 8, 679-699.
- Teti, D.M. (2000). Maternal depression and child-mother attachment in the first three years: A view from the intermountain west. In P. Crittenden & A. H. Claussen (Eds.), The organization of attachment relationships: Maturation, culture, and context. New York: Cambridge University Press.
- Teti, D. M., & Gelfand, D. M. (1997). The Preschool Assessment of Attachment: Construct validity in a sample of depressed and nondepressed families. Development and Psychopathology, 9 (3): 517-536.
- Teti, D. M., & Gelfand, D. M., Messinger, D. S., & Isabella, R. (1995), Correlates of preschool attachment security in a sample of depressed and non-depressed mothers. Developmental Psychology, 31, 364-376.
- Teti, D. M., Heaton, N. Benjamin, L. S., & Gelfand, D. M. (1995, May-Dec.). Quality of attachment and caregiving among depressed mother-child dyads: Strange situation classifications and the SASB Coding System. Paper presented in S. Petrinovitch (chair), Patterns of early socialization: Behavioral ecology of attachment. Symposium conducted at the Society for Applied Behavioral Analysis. Washington, D.C.
- Vondra, J. I., Shaw, D. S., Swearingen, L., Cohen, M., & Owens, E. B. (in press). Attachment stability and emotional and behavioral regulation from infancy to preschool age. Development and Psychopathology.
- Vondra, J. I., Shaw, D. S., Swearingen, L., Cohen, M., & Owens, E. B. (1999). Early relationship quality from home to school: A longitudinal study. Early Education and Development, 10 (2), 163-190.
- Ziegenhain, U., Mueller, B., & Rauh, H. (1996). Fruehe Bindungserfahrungen und Verhaltensauffaelligkeiten bei Kleinkindern in einer sozialen und kognitiven Anforderungssituation. / The influence of attachment quality and intensity of attachment insecurity on cognitive performances and emotional states of 20-month-old infants in a test situation. Praxis der Kinderpsychologie und Kinderpsychiatrie, 45 (3-4), 95-102.