Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MA in Child Development


Current systems for assessing parenting narratives lack the capacity to capture representational phenomena associated with significantly disrupted attachment relationships. This thesis will describe the adaptation of the valid and reliable Hostile/Helpless (HH) coding system for use with the Parent Development Interview (PDI). The hostile–helpless dyadic model posits that these two relational stances derive from an unbalanced internal working model of attachment that is shaped over the course of a caregiver’s own attachment history. Entering parenthood with hostile–helpless representation of caregiving puts a parent at risk of relating to their child from the extreme stance of either unbalanced behavioral position or of vacillating between their poles. Designed to aid in the identification of the most vulnerable parent–child relationships, the HH system for the PDI may have clinical and research value in the detection of disrupted caregiving and risk for maltreatment or disorganized attachment. This thesis will review the theoretical premise and empirical basis for this system, describe the preliminary adaptation process, and explore the HH caregiving narratives of three interviews in depth.

Included in

Psychology Commons