Academic journal article International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Factor Structure and Criterion Validity of an Enlarged Version of the Parental Bonding Instrument

Academic journal article International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Factor Structure and Criterion Validity of an Enlarged Version of the Parental Bonding Instrument

Article excerpt

Novelty and Significance

What is already known about the topic?

* Parker's theory on the pathogenic effect of the affectionless control as a rearing style (i.e. low care and high overprotection).

* Factorial structure of the original PBI with two rearing dimensions: Care and Overprotection.

* Correlations of parental Care and Overprotection with children's depression.

What this paper adds?

* Investigates the factorial structure of an enlarged version of the PBI (PBI-E) that includes, not only the original items, but also two additional scales proposed by Gilbert (Put-Down/Shaming and Favouritism), aimed at extending the conceptual framework of affectionless control.

* Examines the pattern of correlations of PBI-E not only with depression but also with anxiety, as a further outcome of children's well-being.

* Tests if the added Gilbert's scales increase the predictive power of the PBI scales on depression and anxiety in the offspring.

In the context of the attachment theory (e.g. Bowlby, 1977a, b) it is generally acknowledged that parents lacking in the capacity to offer a secure base and to encourage explorative behaviours, tend to create in children an anxious attachment that makes them prone to psychopathology. In order to study the relationship between family environment and psychopathological vulnerability in a quantitative manner, several instruments of parental rearing have been developed based on the memories of the offspring such as the Children's Reports of Parental Behavior Inventory (CRPBI, Schaefer, 1965), the Egna Minnen Betraeffande Unde Uppfostran ("My growth memories", EMBU, Perris, Jacobson, Lindstrom, Van Knorring, & Perris, 1980) and the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI, Parker, Tupling & Brown, 1979; Parker, 1989; Cappelli & San Martini, 2004, for the Italian version). A comprehensive review of the literature on the use of retrospective reports in the assessment of parental behaviour (Brewin, Andrews, & Gotlib, 1993) showed that such measures are more reliable than generally thought and concluded for their substantial utility and validity. These questionnaires appear to be simple and easy to handle, permitting to avoid complex problems typically connected to the interview methods (e.g. training of the judges and assessment of their reliability).

In a series of studies on the influence of parental rearing style on the psychological vulnerability of the offspring, Parker identified a pattern of dysfunctional parenting, called affectionless control, characterised by low care and high overprotection (Parker, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1984). At the positive pole care refers to affect, emotional warmth, empathy and intimacy, while at the negative pole to coldness, indifference and refusal. Similarly at the positive pole overprotection refers to the tendency to promote behavioural and psychological autonomy, at the negative pole to control, intrusiveness and inhibition of independence. As a measure of these dimensions he developed the above mentioned PBI, that has been showed to be a valid and reliable measure of parenting behaviours as perceived by the offspring. Many studies have generally confirmed Parker's theory, particularly as regards the risk of depression and anxiety of the children with affectionless control parents (e.g. Safford, Alloy, & Pieracci 2007; Gladstone & Parker, 2005).

As regards the factor structure of the PBI, a large discussion emerged on the opportunity to parsed the overprotection scale in two different sub-dimensions correlated with each other. Some authors (Kendler, 1996; Sato, Narita, Hirano, Kusunoki, Sakado, & Uehara, 1999; Cox, Enns, & Clara, 2000; Heider, Matschinger, Vilagut, Martínez Alonso, Dietrich, & Angermeyer, 2005) proposed to distinguish between protectiveness and authoritarianism, others between overprotection and restraint (Gómez Beneyto, Pedrós, Tomás, Aguilar, & Leal, 1993) or also between protection-personnel domain and protection-social domain (Cubis, Lewin, & Dawes, 1989). …

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