Adult Attachment Scale (AAS)

The Adult Attachment Scale (AAS) was officially developed in 1990 but built on the earlier work of Hazen & Shaver (1987) and Levy & Davis (1988).  The scale was developed by decomposing the original three prototypical descriptions (Hazen & Shaver, 1987) into a series of 18 items.

The scale consists of 18 items scored on a 5 point likert-type scale.  It measures adult attachment styles named “Secure”, “Anxious” and “Avoidant”, defined as:

• Secure = high scores on Close and Depend subscales, low score on Anxiety subscale
• Anxious = high score on Anxiety subscale, moderate scores on Close and Depend subscales
• Avoidant = low scores on Close, Depend, and Anxiety subscales

The 18 items that compromise the measure are as follows:

  • I find it difficult to allow myself to depend on others (Av)
  • People are never there when you need them (Av)
  • I am comfortable depending on others (S)
  • I know that others will be there when I need them (S)
  • I find it difficult to trust others completely (Av)
  • I am not sure that I can always depend on others to be there when I need them (Ax)
  • I do not often worry about being abandoned (S)
  • I often worry that my partner does not really love me (Ax)
  • I find others are reluctant to get as close as I would like (Ax)
  • I often worry my partner will not want to stay with me (Ax)
  • I want to merge completely with another person (Ax)
  • My desire to merge sometimes scares people away (Ax)
  • I find it relatively easy to get close to others (S)
  • I do not often worry about someone getting close to me (S)
  • I am somewhat uncomfortable being close to others (Av)
  • I am nervous when anyone gets too close (Av)
  • I am comfortable having others depend on me (S)
  • Often, love partners want me to be more intimate than I feel comfortable being (Av)

Note: (S)= Secure, (Av)= Avoidant, (Ax)= Anxious/Ambivalent

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Nancy L. Collins, Stephen J. Read

Reliability and Validity

Collins & Read (1990) reported Cronbach’s alpha coefficients of .69 for Close, .75 for Depend, and .72 for Anxiety. Test-retest correlations for a 2-month period were .68 for Close, .71 for Depend, and .52 for Anxiety.

Description and Scoring Information


To obtain permission to use this scale

The authors of this scale give researchers, students, and clinicians permission to use this scale for research, educational, and clinical purposes, and to adapt or translate the scale into new languages as needed. Please do not contact the authors for these standard uses. However, if you are interested in using the scale for commercial purposes, please contact the authors for permission.

Administration, Analysis and Reporting

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For additional information on these services, click here.

Dissertations Using the Adult Attachment Scale

Below is a list of dissertations using the AAS.  The full version of these dissertations can be found using ProQuest.

Sirota, T. H. (1997). A comparison of adult attachment style dimensions between women who have gay or bisexual fathers and women who have heterosexual fathers. New York University).


Collins, N. L., & Read, S. J. (1990). Adult attachment, working models, and relationship quality in dating couples. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58(4), 644-663.

The Attachment Theory Website