Adult Attachment Interview
Name and Type of Measure
Adult Attachment Interview (AAI).
The AAI is a semistructured interview and scoring system developed to assess adult- and adolescent-attachment based on congruence between semantic and episodic memories. To illustrate, the semantic descriptor “loving” about an interviewee’s childhood relationship with his mother is incongruent with the episodic memory of being punished for failing to take out the trash, but is congruent with the memory of being surprised that she comforted the interviewee for failing a history exam.
The AAI contains 18 questions that probe autobiographical childhood memories, descriptions of relationships with primary caregivers, and experiences of loss and trauma. Trained coders analyze responses for coherence of discourse, comprised of natural conversational maxims, including veracity, concision, relevance, and order (Grice 1975), resulting in assignment on one of the continuous rating scales of attachment:
KeywordsEpisodic Memory Romantic Relationship Family Therapy Childhood Relationship Autobiographical Memory
- Ammaniti, M., Speranza, A. M., & Candelori, C. (1996). Stability of attachment in hildren and intergenerational transmission of attachment. Psychiatria dell-Infanzia e dell-Adolscenza, 63, 313–332.Google Scholar
- Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J., & Van IJzendoorn, M.H. (1993). A psychometric study of the Adult Attachment Interview: Reliability and discriminant validity. Developmental Psychology, 29(5), 870–879.Google Scholar
- George, C., Kaplan, N., & Main, M. (1984). Adult Attachment Interview protocol. Unpublished manuscript, University of California at Berkeley.Google Scholar
- Grice, P. (1975). Logic and conversation. In P. Cole & J. Morgan (Eds.), Syntax and semantics. 3: Speech acts (pp. 41–58). New York: Academic.Google Scholar
- Hesse, E. (2008). The adult attachment interview: Protocol, method of analysis, and empirical studies. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications (2nd ed., pp. 552–598). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Steele, H., & Steele, M. (Eds.). (2008). Clinical applications of the Adult Attachment Interview. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar