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The Friends and Family Interview Converges with the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment in Community But Not Institutionalized Adolescents

Abstract

This study is an original investigation of the convergent validity of the Friends and Family Interview (FFI) with the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA), involving teenagers living in either low-risk or at-risk contexts. Participants were 130 adolescents (12–19 years), 91 low-risk (community) and 39 at-risk (in residential-care). Aims were to explore: (1) The convergence between the FFI and the IPPA in the two samples; (2) The predictive role of FFI insecure attachment scales on IPPA’s responses. Results revealed that FFI and IPPA responses were shown to significantly converge among the low-risk, mainly securely attached, community teenagers, but not among the youth living in high-risk circumstances where most interview responses were insecure. Lower convergency in the at-risk sample is likely due to idealizing or normalizing response to the questionnaire provoked by a defensive need to downplay or otherwise ignore adverse experiences, a phenomenon detectable only through careful coding of the language in interview responses that reveal the high levels of idealization or anger typifying these insecure (dismissing or preoccupied) interviews. Therefore, mixed methods are advisable, particularly with at-risk teenagers.

Highlights

  • This study examined convergent validity between two attachment measures, the Friends and Family Interview and the questionnaire Inventory for Parent and Peer Attachment.

  • The measures showed convergent results regarding attachment security for low-risk community teenagers, mostly securely attached.

  • The measures did not show convergence in at-risk institutionalized teenagers, mostly insecurely attached.

  • Parental anger or idealization, detectable through the FFI, influenced teenagers’ (normalizing or defensive) responses to the IPPA.

  • Mixed methods are especially advisable to assess attachment in at-risk adolescents.

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Acknowledgements

A fond thank you to all adolescents, their families, schools, residential-care homes, and professional caregivers for their indispensable voluntary participation.

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Correspondence to Stefania Muzi.

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Muzi, S., Pace, C.S. & Steele, H. The Friends and Family Interview Converges with the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment in Community But Not Institutionalized Adolescents. J Child Fam Stud 31, 518–529 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-021-02181-1

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Keywords

  • Convergent validity
  • Adolescence
  • Institutionalized children
  • The friends and family interview
  • The inventory of parent and peer attachment