Factor structure of the Friends and Family interview

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The aim of this study was to specify the latent construct structure of the Friends and Family Interview (FFI: Steele & Steele, 2005) based on its dimensional scale coding protocol. The FFI is a semi-structured interview measuring attachment in middle childhood. We analyzed data from 341 FFI interviews with children aged 7–12 years, recruited in the Scandinavian Öresund Region. Exploratory Factor Analysis revealed a three-component model as best fitting the data. The first component, denoting attachment security, gathered all dimensional scales for evidence of secure base/safe haven regarding mother/father and coherence in the child’s narrative style, along with scales regarding reflective functioning, self-perception, and social functioning. The second component comprised preoccupying feelings of anger, but also derogation. The third component gathered all scales coding idealization. Inter-relations among the components were consistent with attachment theory, and respondents’ scores for all three components differed significantly across the four categorical attachment classifications. Affect regulation of negative emotion through anger and through derogation co-occurred, and was distinct from regulation through maintaining a belief that things are better than they appear (idealization). These two affect regulation strategies appeared commonly when reflective functioning, and an organized self-perception, and positive peer relations were less in evidence. The multi-dimensional FFI coding system appears to measure successfully these diverse features of the child’s narrative provided in response to the interview. Overall, our findings support the construct validity of the FFI and provide further evidence of its usefulness for assessing attachment in middle childhood and early adolescence.


  • Elia Psouni
  • Sonja Breinholst
  • Barbara Hoff Esbjørn
  • Howard Steele
External organisations
  • University of Copenhagen
  • The New School, New York
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)


  • Attachment dimensions, exploratory factor analysis, Friends and Family Interview, middle childhood, reflective functioning
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-469
Number of pages10
JournalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
Issue number3
Early online date2020 Jan 2
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jun
Publication categoryResearch

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Elia Psouni, Barbara Hoff Esbjorn, Sonja Breinholst & Howard Steele


Project: ResearchInternational collaboration

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