Preferred Name

Rob Whelan

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Educational Specialist (EdS)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Angela Renee Staton

Amanda Evans


The assessment of child and caregiving attachment patterns produce data that can inform relational and family interventions. Currently, the supported and widely used methods of assessing these attachment patterns (observational and interview procedures) require extensive training and testing to use, making them less accessible to providers. Valid and reliable caregiver self-report questionnaires for attachment assessment, which generally require less training to interpret, have proven difficult to design in the past. The Attachment Caregiving Scale (ACS) is a caregiver self-report questionnaire that looks at caregiver attributions (i.e., to what do caregivers attribute their child’s behaviors and emotions). This exploratory study seeks to establish the beginning of an evidence base for the ACS by examining an archival clinical database that includes child attachment classifications (coded by use of the strange situation procedure) and the corresponding caregiver responses to the ACS. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) is used to determine a possible factor structure for the ACS, descriptive statistics and Cronbach’s alpha are used to examine its reliability, and analyses of means (a one-way ANOVA and an independent sample t-test) are employed to determine associations between caregiver responses and child attachment classifications. Results from the EFAs resulted in the removal of two of the four scales (or sections) of the ACS and found a promising factor structure within the two retained scales. Reliability coefficients for these factors, measured by Cronbach’s alpha, were excellent and ranged from .87-.92. The analyses of means showed that, overall, caregivers of children with secure classifications respond to three of the four factors of the ACS in significantly different ways than caregivers of children with insecure classifications. More importantly, effect sizes for each of the four factors were notable, both from the ANOVA and the t-test (eta-squared: .033-.162, and Cohen’s d: .364-.889). These findings suggest that the ACS could be a reliable and valid caregiver self-report questionnaire, and that it is worthy of continued study and investigation with larger and more varied samples. Its potential uses range from a screening tool to an adjunct measure to the observational and interview methods of assessment currently used in the attachment field.

Available for download on Friday, April 11, 2025