Thesis Title

Using the Kaiser Bird's Nest Drawing Art Based Assessment as an Indicator of Attachment for Adolescents With Anorexia

Graduation Date

Spring 2002

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy


Lizbeth Martin, PhD

First Reader

Richard Carolan, EdD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Arnell Etherington, PhD, MFT, ATR-BC


This research was conducted to determine whether low attachment scores for anorexic adolescents as measured by three subscales (Attachment to Mother, Father and Peers) on the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA), (Armsden & Greenberg, 1987) would correlate positively to low scores of attachment and security on the Kaiser Bird’s Nest (KBND) Rating Scale.

Participants were individuals hospitalized for signs of medical instability due to anorexia nervosa. The sample consisted of 14 individuals ranging in age from eleven to eighteen years. The KBND, developed by Kaiser (1996) specifically targets the construct of attachment proposed by Bowlby and Ainsworth. Research suggests that attachment insecurity contributes to physical illness and the development of psychopathology. There is also an increasing body of evidence supporting the presence of attachment disturbances in eating- disordered populations.

Results yielded no statistical significance. One strong trend indicated there may be a link between indicator #8 (presence of animals or humans in the drawing) on the KBND rating scale and peer attachment as measured by the subscale on the IPPA. The study was severely limited by the small sample size.

This study does not support the hypothesis. However, it is believed that the KBND has value as an art-based tool in combination with other assessments, but is in need of further testing to validate its reliability as a psychometric tool.