Assessing the Emotional Availability of Parents

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emotional availability, fathers, mothers, behavior, functioning

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Parental emotional availability has been discussed extensively in the research literature, but has rarely been evaluated directly. This manuscript describes a series of four studies (two pilot studies and two formal studies) that culminated in the development of a psychometrically sound measure of parental emotional availability. The Lum Emotional Availability of Parents (LEAP) measure was developed initially with older adolescents and then was extended down to children as young as 9 years old in both clinical and nonclinical samples. Collateral parental reports were also collected. The LEAP assesses children’s and adolescents’ perceptions of their mother’s and father’s emotional availability separately. The measure shows good psychometric properties regarding both reliability and validity. Children in the clinical sample reported lower rates of parental emotional availability than did children in the nonclinical sample. The LEAP is a promising new measure that can be used to identify children who might be at risk for development of emotional/behavioral problems because of their perceptions of parental emotional unavailability.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, v. 27, issue 3, p. 211-226