Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Douglas Barnett


This study examined the empirical utility of the Attachment Script Assessment (ASA), a novel indicator of adolescent secure base script knowledge, with socioeconomically disadvantaged, African-American youth. It was hypothesized that secure base knowledge would buffer the effect of trauma exposure on youth emotional and behavioral problems. The sample included 83 adolescent (ages 13-18) caregiver dyads that participated in a larger study examining adolescent health behaviors. Results revealed preliminary empirical support for the utility of the ASA with this sample, as evidenced by expected inverse correlations with another well-established measure of attachment. Results indicated that there was not sufficient evidence to suggest that secure base knowledge moderated the impact of trauma exposure on youth outcomes. However, youth secure base knowledge did significantly predict youth internalizing problems. Taken together, these findings suggest that the ASA may be a useful measure of attachment and may provide some insight into adolescents' internalizing problems. As this is the first study to utilize the ASA with at-risk youth, and few studies have examined the link between secure base knowledge and child outcomes, future research will need to replicate these results.