Link to full paper : Detecting infants in need: Are complicated measures really necessary?

ABSTRACT:The object of this paper was to study how the Baby Alarm Distress ScaleADBB, devel-oped as a simple screening tool for front line professionals working with infants, correlates with themore detailed assessment method of the Global Rating ScaleGRSfor Mother-Infant Interaction at twoand four months. A sample of 127 eight- to eleven-week-old infants was videotaped in free interactionwith their mothers, and infant interaction behavior was rated with both methods by independent re-searchers. Compared to the GRS infant scales the sensitivity of the ADBB, using the recommendedcutoff point of 5 or more, was 0.77 and specificity 0.80. In further analyses it was found that deviantratings of two items of the ADBB, the quality of eye contact between the infant and the caregiver andassessment of the sense of relationship between the infant and the caregiver, were the items moststrongly associated with poor interaction skills of the infant on the GRS. Mothers of infants founddeviant in the ADBB performed more poorly in the interaction with their infants when compared tomothers of infants found healthy in the ADBB. For the purpose of detecting deviations in infantinteraction skills as signs of possible problems in early parent-infant interaction the ADBB seems to bea sufficiently sensitive and specific instrument. However, the results of this study still need to be testedwith larger samples and against other observation methods.

Expert’s note: This research provides two very important pieces of information. The first is that the ADBB is a reliable tool for detecting early disorders of the parent-baby relationship, including when the observation is done with the parent and not through an interaction with an unfamiliar person. The second piece of information to remember is that it is not necessary to train front-line professionals massively and at length in complex assessment tools for which training is not readily available. Massive training in the ADBB can meet the need for detection and follow-up under intervention for front-line professionals regardless of their initial training, which would give a power of intervention quite interesting for public policy on early prevention.