Convergent Validity and Stability of Secure Base Script Knowledge from Late Adolescence to Midlife.

Theodore E. A. Waters, Christopher R. Facompré, Or Dagan, Jodi Martin, William F. Johnson, Ethan S. Young, Jessica Shankman, Yoojin Lee, Jeffry A. Simpson, & Glenn I. Roisman

  • Attachment theory posits that early experiences with caregivers are made portable across development in the form of mental representations of attachment experiences. These representations, the secure base script included, are thought to be stable across time. Here, we present data from two studies. Study 1 (N = 141) examined the degree of empirical convergence between the two major measures of secure base script knowledge, both for the purposes of construct validation and to allow for the examination of stability using multiple methods and thus reducing common method variance. In Study 2, we examined stability of secure base script knowledge across a roughly 20-year period from late adolescence to midlife combining data from both a high- and normative-risk cohort (N = 113). Study 1 revealed evidence for convergent validity between the two measures of secure base script knowledge (r = .50). Study 2 revealed moderate rank-order stability across the two time points (r = .43), which was not moderated by cohort risk status. Taken together, the results from both studies support the prediction that attachment representations show moderate stability across early adulthood and into midlife. In addition, the data suggest that this stability is not attributable to common method variance.

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