This is a validation of a self-rating questionnaire designed to detect disorders of the mother-infant relationship. 125 subjects filled in the questionnaire, and were also interviewed using the 5(th) Edition of the Birmingham Interview for Maternal Mental Health. On the basis of these interviews and the case records, we made consensus diagnoses of various forms and degrees of mother infant relationship disorder, according to criteria published in this paper. We calculated specificity, sensitivity and positive predictive value of the four scale scores generated by the questionnaire. Scale 1 (a general factor) had a sensitivity of for all mother-infant relationship disorders. Scale 2 (rejection and pathological anger) had a sensitivity of for rejection of the infant, but only for severe anger. The performance of scale 3 (infant-focused anxiety) was unsatisfactory. Scale 4 (incipient abuse) selected only a few mothers, but was of some value in identifying those at high risk of child abuse. Revision of the thresholds can improve sensitivity, especially of scale 2, where a cut-off point of 12 = normal, 13 = high better identifies mothers with threatened rejection. These new cut-off points would need validation in another sample.
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Some advantages of questionnaires:
The responses are gathered in a standardised way, so questionnaires are more objective, certainly more so than interviews.
Generally it is relatively quick to collect information using a questionnaire. However in some situations they can take a long time not only to design but also to apply and analyse (see disadvantages for more information).
Potentially information can be collected from a large portion of a group. This potential is not often realised, as returns from questionnaires are usually low. However return rates can be dramatically improved if the questionnaire is delivered and responded to in class time.