The Recorded Interaction Task: A Validation Study of a New Observational Tool to Assess Mother-Infant Bonding

Hannah Edwards, Femke T. A. Buisman-Pijlman, Adrian Esterman, Craig Phillips, Sandra Orgeig, Andrea Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Introduction: Mother-infant bonding describes the early emotional connectedness between a mother and her infant. The quality of the mother-infant bond early in life is related to the subsequent quality of the child's attachment, the quality of further mother-infant interactions, and various other social outcomes across the child's life span. The Recorded Interaction Task (RIT) was developed to assess mother-infant bonding using observational methods in a naturalistic but standardized setting, thus addressing shortcomings of previous self-report tools. The RIT focusses on the common interaction between mother and infant (aged 2 to 5 months old), during a diaper (nappy) change. The interaction is video recorded and later assessed. The RIT must be validated before it can be used to assess mother-infant bonding in future research or in clinical practice. Methods: Face and content validity of the RIT were assessed by a panel of 6 experts in bonding and assessment of maternal and infant behavior. The RIT and self-reported Postpartum Bonding Questionnaire (PBQ) were administered to 15 mother-infant dyads with the correlation between their scores used to assess convergent validity. Results: Acceptable face and content validity of the RIT was demonstrated. A weak correlation between the RIT and PBQ (r = −0.13) and their subscales (r = −0.22) were observed. A strong correlation between the RIT maternal behavior and infant behavior subscales was recorded (r = 0.69). Discussion: The RIT appears to be a viable tool for the observational assessment of mother-infant bonding. Reliability testing and piloting will be required before the RIT can be used in future research or clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-255
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Midwifery and Women's Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • behavior observation techniques
  • infant
  • methods
  • mother-child relations
  • psychometrics
  • reproducibility of results
  • validation study


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