A brief observational instrument for the assessment of infant home environment: development and psychometric testing

Int J Methods Psychiatr Res. 2012 Sep;21(3):195-204. doi: 10.1002/mpr.1361. Epub 2012 Jul 27.


The present paper reports on the development and the psychometric properties of a brief observational assessment of home environments for use in large-scale investigations with young infants. We generated observational items conceptually relevant for child development by two methods. First, we adapted the Infant Toddler Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment (IT-HOME) inventory for use in an exclusively observational context. Second, we added new observational items following a review of relevant literature and consulting professionals. The quality of the instrument was first evaluated in a pilot study (n = 926). In our study sample of 3406 families and their children (median age = 3.1 months, range = 1.6-6.0), exploratory factor analysis was used to identify latent constructs, Cronbach's alpha was used as a measure of internal consistency, and convergent validity was evaluated against family socio-demographic characteristics. Inter-observer agreement was investigated in a sub-sample of the respondents (n = 124). The results supported good psychometric properties of the instrument based on: (a) exploratory factor analysis yielding three meaningful latent constructs, (b) Cronbach's alphas ranging from α = 0.66 to α = 0.90, (c) inter-observer agreement ranging from r = 0.75 to r = 0.91, and (d) associations between the instrument and socio-demographic characteristics in the expected direction [e.g. Odds Ratio for low income = 15.24, 95% confidence interval (11.60, 20.01)].

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*