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THE MATERNAL BEHAVIOR INVENTORY: MEASURING THE BEHAVIORAL SIDE OF MOTHER-TO-INFANT ATTACHMENT

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Abstract:

This study examined the psychometric properties of four indicators of mother-to-infant attachment. Observations were made on 200 maternity ward patients during an infant feeding period on the third day postpartum. The results suggested that a single dimension underlying all four indicators can account fairly well for the interindicator correlation matrix. The mean interindicator correlation was .43, implying a total scale interitem reliability of .75. The interrater reliability for a single rater was estimated to be .95. All four indicators, based on a five-point rating format, produced inverted J-shaped frequency distributions. Nontrivial structural differences, but only inconsequential elevational differences, were found in comparisons between primiparous and multiparous mothers, and between mothers with male infants and those with female infants. Of several background variables, working outside the home was the best predictor of optimal total scale scores. Given its favorable psychometric properties, and because it takes only up to five minutes to administer, the Maternal Behavior Inventory or MBI was recommended as a research tool in the study of mother-to-infant attachment, and as a possible predictor of children at risk.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1994.22.2.177

Publication date: 1994-01-01

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