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Keywords:

  • infant mental health;
  • Parent–Infant Relationship Global Assessment Scale;
  • relationship adaptation

Abstract

The Parent–Infant Relationship Global Assessment Scale (PIRGAS; Zero to Three, 1994) provides a continuously distributed scale of infant–parent relationship adaptation, raging from ‘well-adapted’ to ‘dangerously impaired’. The present study examines the predictive validity of the PIRGAS in a high-risk sample by coding relationship adaptation level from a single sample of 10 min of unstructured free play between mothers and their 20-month-old infants and examining its relationship to subsequent interaction with mothers and behavior problems at 24 months. Relationship adaptation assessed reliably from observations of only 10 min of free play between mothers and their infants at 20 months of age using PIRGAS predicted subsequent mother– infant interaction in a laboratory based problem-solving paradigm (Crowell procedure) at 24 months and internalizing symptomatology of Child Behavior Checklist at age 24 months. These results contribute to the predictive validity of the PIRGAS as a measure of mother–infant relationship adaptation.