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The Vulnerable Attachment Style Questionnaire (VASQ): an interview-based measure of attachment styles that predict depressive disorder

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 July 2003

A. BIFULCO
Affiliation:
Lifespan Research Group, Royal Holloway, University of London
J. MAHON
Affiliation:
Lifespan Research Group, Royal Holloway, University of London
J.-H. KWON
Affiliation:
Lifespan Research Group, Royal Holloway, University of London
P. M. MORAN
Affiliation:
Lifespan Research Group, Royal Holloway, University of London
C. JACOBS
Affiliation:
Lifespan Research Group, Royal Holloway, University of London

Abstract

Background. The Vulnerable Attachment Style Questionnaire (VASQ) was developed to provide a brief self-report tool to assess adult attachment style in relation to depression and validated against an existing investigator-based interview (Attachment Style Interview – ASI). This paper describes the development and scoring of the VASQ and its relationship to poor support and major depression.

Method. Items for the VASQ reflected behaviours, emotions and attitudes relating to attachment relationship style, drawn directly from the ASI. The VASQ was validated against the ASI for 262 community-based subjects. Test–retest was determined on 38 subjects.

Results. Factor analysis derived two factors, labelled ‘insecurity’ and ‘proximity-seeking’. The VASQ insecurity dimension had highest mean scores for those with interview-based Angry-dismissive and Fearful styles and was significantly correlated with degree of interview-based insecurity. The proximity-seeking VASQ scores had highest mean for those with Enmeshed interview attachment style and was uncorrelated with ASI insecurity. VASQ scores were highly correlated with a well-known self-report measure of insecure attachment (Relationship Questionnaire) and text–retest reliability of the VASQ was satisfactory. The total VASQ score and the insecurity subscale proved highly related to poor support and to depressive disorder. This was not the case for the proximity-seeking subscale.

Conclusion. The VASQ is a brief self-report measure that distinguishes individuals with attachment styles vulnerable for depressive disorder. The use of the measure for screening in research and clinical contexts is discussed.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2003 Cambridge University Press

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