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Open Access Research

Validation of the mothers object relations scales in 2–4 year old children and comparison with the child–parent relationship scale

Douglas E Simkiss1*, Fiona MacCallum2, Emma EY Fan1, John M Oates3, Peter K Kimani1 and Sarah Stewart-Brown1

Author Affiliations

1 Warwick MedicalSchool, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

2 Department of Psychology, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

3 Child and Youth Studies Group, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK

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Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2013, 11:49  doi:10.1186/1477-7525-11-49

Published: 21 March 2013

Abstract

Background

The quality of the parent–child relationship has an important effect on a wide range of child outcomes. The evaluation of interventions to promote healthy parenting and family relationships is dependent on outcome measures which can quantify the quality of parent–child relationships. Between the Mothers’ Object Relations – Short Form (MORS-SF) scale for babies and the Child–parent Relationship Scale (C-PRS) there is an age gap where no validated scales are available. We report the development and testing of an adaptation of the MORS-SF; the MORS (Child) scale and its use in children from the age of 2 years to 4 years. This scale aims to capture the nature of the parent–child relationship in a form which is short enough to be used in population surveys and intervention evaluations.

Methods

Construct and criterion validity, item salience and internal consistency were assessed in a sample of 166 parents of children aged 2–4 years old and compared with that of the C-PRS. The performance of the MORS (Child) as part of a composite measure with the HOME inventory was compared with that of the C-PRS using data collected in a randomised controlled trial and the national evaluation of Sure Start.

Results

MORS (Child) performed well in children aged 2–4 with high construct and criterion validity, item salience and internal consistency. One item in the C-PRS failed to load on either subscale and parents found this scale slightly more difficult to complete than the MORS (Child). The two measures performed very similarly in a factor analysis with the HOME inventory producing almost identical loadings.

Conclusions

Adapting the MORS-SF for children aged 2–4 years old produces a scale to assess parent–child relationships that is easy to use and outperforms the more commonly used C-PRS in several respects.

Keywords:
Parent; Child; Relationship; Outcome measure; Psychometrics; Validity; Internal consistency