European journal of psychological assessment vol:21 issue:3 pages:147-155
This study reexamined the factor structure of the Emotional Autonomy Scale (EAS; Steinberg & Silverberg, 1986) by means of confirmatory factor analysis on a large adolescent sample (N = 5065) from the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium. By looking for homogeneous subsets of items within the EAS, the meaning of the measure was clarified. None of the factor structures of the EAS suggested in the literature was supported, because of lack of fit and/or lack of construct validity. Instead, a model with seven first-order factors (Deidealization, Nondependency, Nonimitation, Privacy, Perceived ignorance, Distrust, and Perceived alienation) and two second-order factors (Separation and Detachment) was retained that proved invariant and equal across gender and grade. These findings call for continuing work on the conceptual foundations of the EAS and have important implications for the ongoing debate on the developmental outcomes of emotional autonomy (the detachment debate).