The Communities That Care (CTC) Family Attachment Scale: Measurement Invariance Across Family Structures
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Familial protective factors are an integral part of prevention approaches aimed at problematic behaviour in adolescents. However, there is scarce evidence on the role of familial protective factors in families deviating from the two-parent family configuration. For evaluating targeted (preventive) interventions, a reliable and valid measurement of familial protective factors is crucial. We investigated the factor structure of the Communities That Care (CTC) Family Attachment Scale and tested its measurement invariance in different family structures. Adolescents (n = 2.459, grades 6–11) from Lower Saxony, Germany filled in the German version of the CTC Youth Survey. Our analyses focused on the CTC Family Attachment Scale measuring the adolescent’s attachment to the mother and the father with six items. We evaluated the postulated unidimensional structure of the scale by confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and tested the measurement invariance using multigroup factor analyses across different family structures (two-parent family/single-parent family). We used SPSS V.23 and the R packages lavaan and semTools. The two-factor solution for the CTC Family Attachment Scale with one factor representing attachment to the mother and one indicating attachment to the father had an adequate model fit in the total sample (χ2(5) = 29.938; p < .001; CFI = .996; TLI = .988; RMSEA = .050, SRMR = .019). This two-factor solution of the CTC Family Attachment Scale showed strong measurement invariance regarding adolescents living in a two-parent family vs. those living with a single parent. The two-factor CTC Family Attachment Scale appears to be a suitable measure to assess family attachment in both two-parent and single-parent families with German adolescents.
KeywordsFamilial protective factors Family structure Family attachment Adolescents Measurement invariance Communities That Care Prevention
The authors thank all the adolescents for their participation, as well as the school staff for their vast support. We thank Frederik Groeger-Roth, Crime Prevention Council of Lower Saxony, for supporting data acquisition.
H.S. and E.M.B. conceived the idea of the research question. H.S. planned and performed the data analysis and prepared the manuscript. R.S., J.U.F., and M.R. designed, coordinated and conducted the study (data acquisition and data preparation). E.M.B., T.M., J.U.F., and M.R. provided substantial input to statistical analysis and interpretation of the data. J.U.F., M.R., R.S., T.M., and E.M.B. revised the manuscript critically for important intellectual content.
Crime Prevention Council of Lower Saxony.
Compilance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The study was audited and approved by the institutional review board of the Education Authority of Lower Saxony, Germany. Ethical approval fell under the jurisdiction of the Education Authority because the survey was conducted in schools during class hours. Given this approval, no further ethical approval was required. American Psychological Association (APA) ethical standards were followed in conducting the study, and it was in accordance to the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. The teachers informed the students about the study before participation. Non-participation had no negative consequences for the students. Participating students could discontinue the survey at any time or choose to omit questions. All parents were informed in writing about the study beforehand. Parents of adolescents in grades 6 and 7 had to give their written consent to their children’s survey participation, whereas parents of adolescents in grades 8 to 11 could actively object to the participation of their children.
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