Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 9, pp 2797–2810 | Cite as

Development and Cross-Cultural Validity of a Brief Measure of Separation-Individuation

  • C. C. Chen
  • G. B. Richardson
  • M. H. C. Lai
  • C. L. Dai
  • D. G. Hays
Original Paper


Separation from parents is a key aspect of adolescent development and has been linked to a variety of important mental and behavioral health outcomes. Separation-individuation measures were developed in the United States and have been used in Asian contexts. However, no cross-cultural studies have demonstrated that measures of separation-individuation tap the same domains across Asian and American adolescents. This article describes two studies conducted to develop and initially validate a scale for measuring adolescent separation-individuation. Study 1 (n= 300) developed a Brief Measure of Separation-Individuation (BMSI) using Confirmatory Factor Analysis and Item Response Theory. The result was a 32-item BMSI that provided comparable test information to the original 148-item measure. Study 2 examined the BMSI for measurement invariance and convergent validity across U.S. and Taiwanese samples (ns = 231 and 323). Findings suggest that functional independence, attitudinal independence, and emotional independence may be culturally invariant separation-individuation constructs. However, conflictual independence seems to be more culturally dependent in that its items were only partially scalar invariant and it was only loosely related to the other separation-individuation factors. Findings are consistent with previous research that recommended against using total scores for the PSI (i.e., scoring a single separation-individuation dimension). This study suggests the BMSI holds promise as a brief measure of separation-individuation that can be used in cross-cultural research.


Individuation Cross-cultural validity Parent-child relationship Item response theory Adolescent 


Author Contributions

C.C.: designed and executed the study, analyzed the data, and wrote the paper. G.R.: collaborated with the design, analyzing the data, and writing of the study. M.L.: collaborated with analyzing the data and wrote part of the results. C.D.: collaborated with data collection and writing of the study. D.H.: collaborated in the writing and editing of the final manuscript.

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. Ethics approval was obtained from the University of Cincinnati Institutional Review Board (Ref No: 2015-0961).

Informed Consent

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

Supplementary material

10826_2018_1140_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (522 kb)
Supplementary Information


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
Corrected publication June 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Nevada, Las VegasLas VegasUSA
  2. 2.University of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

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