Mothers and infants: screening for maternal relationships at risk with the CARE-Index
The Infant CARE-Index was originally devised for the purpose of research and is the oldest and best validated of the Dynamic-Maturational Model (DMM) methods for the assessment of attachment. Patricia Crittenden developed the CARE-Index under the direction of Mary Ainsworth together with the assistance of John Bowlby, both of whom viewed her set of videotapes of troubled mother-infant dyads (Crittenden 1981). At a time when research was largely focused on subjects drawn from typical community samples, the CARE-Index was instrumental in extending the assessment of attachment to at-risk populations (i.e. families in perpetual crises, dyads troubled by abuse or neglect). The CARE-Index was the fi rst of the DMM assessments and, although not explicitly stated in the early papers, introduces the basic constructs on which Crittenden’s model is built: attachment as adaptation to context and attachment patterns as self-protective strategies organised to maximise protection under dangerous or threatening conditions (Crittenden 2008).