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The Parental Bonding Instrument: confirmatory evidence for a three-factor model in a psychiatric clinical sample and in the National Comorbidity Survey.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Manitoba, Canada.



Study of the contribution of retrospective perceptions of dysfunctional parenting in relation to adult psychopathology has been greatly facilitated by the development of the 25-item Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI; Parker et al. 1979).


The present study employed confirmatory factor analytic techniques to evaluate competing models of the basic dimensions underlying different versions of the PBI, in a psychiatric sample from a mood disorders program and with a new modification of the PBI employed in the US National Comorbidity Survey.


The results indicated that a three-factor model originally identified in a 16-item version of the PBI modified for epidemiological research (Kendler 1996) showed the best fit to the data. The three dimensions of care, overprotection, and authoritarianism also explained the underlying structure of the NCS-modified, eight-item PBI that is now part of the NCS public use dataset available to psychopathology researchers.


The replicability of findings across gender, age, and clinical versus community samples attests to the robustness of this three-factor structure of parenting styles.

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