Child Attachment Interview (CAI)

The Child Attachment Interview is an interview which is video taped to allow inclusion of both verbal and non-verbal responses. It aims to access children's mental representations of attachment figures by inviting them to talk about their experiences with, and perceptions of, their caregivers. The CAI protocol includes 19 questions tapping areas such as separation and loss, illness, hurt, times of conflict and was originally designed for the 8-12 years age range but has since also been validated with 13-15 year olds. The CAI scoring system is based initially on identifying relationship episodes within the entire interview. These are subsequently rated on 9 dimensions such as Emotional Openness, Use of Examples, Idealisation, Resolution of Conflict and Coherence amongst others. The aforementioned dimensions as well as non-behavioural communication forms the basis upon which independent attachment classifications with mother and father, analogous to those identified in infancy and adulthood, are assigned.

Key Reference: Target, M., Fonagy, P., Shmueli-Goetz, Y., Datta, A., & Schneider, T. (2007). The Child Attachment Interview. Unpublished Protocol. University College London.