Attachment Style Interview ASI – introduction and background

The ASI is an interview which assesses characteristics of current adult attachment style in relation to a person’s ability to access and utilise social support. As such it belongs to the ‘social psychology’ strand of investigation of attachment style. It was developed by Professor Antonia Bifulco and her team at the CATS centre.

The ASI provides a categorisation of attachment style for individuals, as well as assesses their specific support context and quality of close relationships. The resulting style profile not only determines which style best characterises them (e.g. Secure, Enmeshed, Fearful, Angry-dismissive or Withdrawn), but also the extent to which the insecure styles are dysfunctional in terms of whether the person is ‘Markedly’, ‘Moderately’ or ‘Mildly’ Insecure. This is important, given evidence that ‘Mildly Insecure’ styles carry less risk of mental health problems.

To date there are two versions of the ASI for Adults that have been developed. The ASI for Research, Clinical and Practice use (ASI-RCP), tailored towards psychologists and psychiatrist working in research and clinical and forensic practice fields, and ASI for Family Services, tailored towards practice requirements of Adoption & Fostering and Child Care services.

ASI-RCP training is run by Professor Bifulco and her team at the CATS centre at Middlesex University. The ASI for Children’s Services agency training courses are co-ordinated by Child and Family Training.

Key ASI publications:

Bifulco, A & Thomas, G (2012) Understanding adult attachment in family relationships: research, assessment and intervention. Abingdon, U.K. Routledge. 352p. ISBN 9780415594325.

Bifulco A, Moran PM, Ball C, Bernazzani (2002) Adult attachment style. I: Its relationship to clinical depression. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. Feb;37(2):50-9. link

Bifulco A, Moran PM, Ball C, et al. (2002) Adult attachment style. II: Its relationship to psychosocial depressive-vulnerability. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. Feb;37(2):60-7. link

Bifulco A, Jacobs C & Bunn A (2008) The Attachment Style Interview (ASI): A Support-Based Adult Assessment Tool for Adoption and Fostering Practice. Adoption and Fostering. Volume: 32 issue: 3, page(s): 33-45. link

Figueiredo B, Bifulco A, Pacheco R, et al. (2006) Attachment and Human Development, 8(2). pp. 123-138. link

Bifulco A, Mahon J, Kwon JH, et al. (2003) The Vulnerable Attachment Style Questionnaire (VASQ): an interview-based measure of attachment styles that predict depressive disorder. Psychol Med. Aug;33(6):1099-110. link

A Bifulco, Kwon J, Jacobs C, et al. (2006) Adult attachment style as a mediator between childhood neglect/abuse and adult depression and anxiety Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology 41(10):796-805. link