Effective reliability of mother/child interaction assessment in 9 month old children
Barbosa, Vanessa M.
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Judgment methodology was employed to provide a qualitative description of mother/child interaction during infant play. Videoclips of 40 9-month-old infants in a free play situation with their mothers were rated by a panel of 10 judges using a series of 9 point Likert scales. Thirteen qualitative items, grouped into the five different areas of communication, coordination, engagement, affect, and overall quality of interaction, were rated from low or absent (0) to consistently high (8). Each mother/child dyad was assessed on two different segments. The reliability of the scales for assessing the mother/child interaction (mean ratings of 10 judges) ranged from .65 (mismatch) to .81 (mutual responsiveness) with an overall mean effective reliability of .77. There was a high intercorrelation among individual variables and overall quality of the interaction suggesting that no one of the rated qualities was more predictive of the overall mother/child interaction. Differences found in the rated quality of mother/child interaction between the two segments raise questions regarding the validity of conclusions about the overall quality of interaction based on a single short segment. Results are discussed in terms of the psychometric features of the scales and in terms of the mother/child interactional patterns. Suggestions for revising the methodology and the assessment tool are made to improve reliability and validity. More studies are necessary to validate the usefulness of the judgment methodology as an alternative approach to studying the quality of mother/child interaction.
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