The School Attachment Monitor—a novel computational tool for assessment of attachment in middle childhood

Rooksby, M. , Di Folco, S., Tayarani, M., Vo, D.-B. , Huan, R., Vinciarelli, A. , Brewster, S. A. and Minnis, H. (2021) The School Attachment Monitor—a novel computational tool for assessment of attachment in middle childhood. PLoS ONE, 16(7), e0240277. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0240277) (PMID:34292952) (PMCID:PMC8297900)

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Abstract

Background: Attachment research has been limited by the lack of quick and easy measures. We report development and validation of the School Attachment Monitor (SAM), a novel measure for largescale assessment of attachment in children aged 5–9, in the general population. SAM offers automatic presentation, on computer, of story-stems based on the Manchester Child Attachment Story Task (MCAST), without the need for trained administrators. SAM is delivered by novel software which interacts with child participants, starting with warm-up activities to familiarise them with the task. Children’s story completion is video recorded and augmented by ‘smart dolls’ that the child can hold and manipulate, with movement sensors for data collection. The design of SAM was informed by children of users’ age range to establish their task understanding and incorporate their innovative ideas for improving SAM software. Methods: 130 5–9 year old children were recruited from mainstream primary schools. In Phase 1, sixty-one children completed both SAM and MCAST. Inter-rater reliability and rating concordance was compared between SAM and MCAST. In Phase 2, a further 44 children completed SAM complete and, including those children completing SAM in Phase 1 (total n = 105), a machine learning algorithm was developed using a “majority vote” procedure where, for each child, 500 non-overlapping video frames contribute to the decision. Results: Using manual rating, SAM-MCAST concordance was excellent (89% secure versus insecure; 97% organised versus disorganised; 86% four-way). Comparison of human ratings of SAM versus the machine learning algorithm showed over 80% concordance. Conclusions: We have developed a new tool for measuring attachment at the population level, which has good reliability compared to a validated attachment measure and has the potential for automatic rating–opening the door to measurement of attachment in large populations.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Brewster, Professor Stephen and Rooksby, Dr Maki and Vo, Dr Dong-Bach and Tayarani, Dr Mohammad and Minnis, Professor Helen and Vinciarelli, Professor Alessandro and Huan, Rui
Creator Roles:
Rooksby, M.Data curation, Formal analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Project administration, Writing – original draft, Writing – review and editing
Tayarani, M.Formal analysis, Methodology, Writing – review and editing
Vo, D.-B.Formal analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Writing – review and editing
Vinciarelli, A.Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Supervision, Writing – review and editing
Brewster, S. A.Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Supervision, Writing – review and editing
Minnis, H.Conceptualization, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Supervision, Writing – original draft, Writing – review and editing
Authors: Rooksby, M., Di Folco, S., Tayarani, M., Vo, D.-B., Huan, R., Vinciarelli, A., Brewster, S. A., and Minnis, H.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN:1932-6203
ISSN (Online):1932-6203
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 Rooksby et al.
First Published:First published in PLoS ONE 16(7): e0240277
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
Related URLs:

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
171844SAM: Automated Attachment Analysis Using the School Attachment MonitorStephen BrewsterEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/M025055/1Computing Science