University of Tasmania

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Assessing mother-infant bonding: reliability of the recorded interaction task

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 14:59 authored by Edwards, H, Buisman-Pijlman, FTA, Esterman, A, Phillips, C, Larissa SmartLarissa Smart, Orgeig, S, Gordon, A

Objective: This study examined the intra- and inter-rater reliability of the Recorded Interaction Task (RIT); a novel tool to assess mother-infant bonding via observational methods.

Background: Mother-infant bonding describes the reciprocal early emotional connection between mother and infant. Whilst various tools exist to assess mother-infant bonding, many incorrectly confuse this construct with mother-infant attachment. Further, available tools are limited to those that employ self-report methods, thus may reflect perceived behaviour, rather than actual behaviour. The RIT is a novel tool for observational assessment of mother-infant bonding. A standard interaction between mother and infant is recorded, and later assessed against specified bonding-related behaviours. Before its use in research, reliability testing must be undertaken to ensure the RIT may be used consistently.

Methods: The RIT was administered to 15 mother-infant dyads. Participant recordings were assessed by three trained raters at two time points, using the RIT observation scoring sheet. Intra-rater reliability was determined by comparing scores at each time point for each rater. Inter-rater reliability was determined by assessing reliability of scores at the first time point.

Results: Strong intra-rater reliability (ICC >0.86) and fair inter-rater reliability (ICC = 0.55) were observed.

Conclusion: The current findings support the RIT's potential to reliably assess mother-infant bonding.


Publication title

Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology






School of Nursing


Carfax Publishing

Place of publication

Rankine Rd, Basingstoke, England, Hants, Rg24 8Pr

Rights statement

© 2022 Society for Reproductive & Infant Psychology

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Neonatal and child health; Women's and maternal health

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