Assessing Parental Attributions through an Implicit Measure: Development and Evaluation of the Noncompliance IAT

  • Sarah M. RabbittEmail author
  • Christina M. Rodriguez
Original Paper



Assessing parental attributions can be challenging given the reticence of some caregivers to report information that may be considered controversial or pejorative. To address this issue, recent efforts have focused on expanding existing parenting assessment batteries to include implicit measures. One of the most common methods for implicit assessment, the Implicit Association Test (IAT), had not yet been adapted to assess parental attributions. Two studies evaluated the psychometric properties (including convergent, concurrent, incremental, and predictive validity) of the novel Noncompliance IAT (N-IAT).


Study 1 included a low-risk sample of mothers (N = 60) of preschoolers. Study 2 included a diverse and higher risk sample of mothers and fathers who were assessed at three time points: immediately before the birth of their first child (N = 202 women; N = 144 male partners) and then 6 and 18 months after the birth.


Findings from both studies supported the utility of the N-IAT as a measure of implicit parental attributions. The N-IAT demonstrated evidence of convergent and concurrent validity (e.g., significant correlations with explicit attribution measures and with measures of parenting) in both studies. The longitudinal design of Study 2 allowed for the evaluation of incremental and predictive validity; N-IAT scores before childbirth predicted later N-IAT scores, with indications that the N-IAT could demonstrate incremental validity related to child abuse risk. Study 2 also demonstrated moderate test stability for mothers and fathers.


These results suggest that the N-IAT may be a helpful adjunct to assessments of parental attribution.


Implicit Association Test Parent attributions Noncompliance Analog tasks Psychometrics 



The first study was based on the doctoral dissertation of the first author with funding support provided by the Department of Psychology at Yale University. The second study was supported by an award from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to the second author (Award # R15HD071431). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development or the National Institutes of Health.

Author Contributions

S.M.R Designed and executed Study 1, completed data analyses for Study 1, developed the N-IAT, worked with CMR in revising the N-IAT, and collaborated with C.M.R in writing the manuscript. C.M.R conducted Study 2 and performed those analyses.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Study 1 was approved by the Yale University Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Study 2 was approved by the University of Alabama Birmingham IRB.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the studies.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOberlin CollegeOberlinUSA
  2. 2.University of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA

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