Attachment theory is an important and well-known theory in developmental and social psychology. It relates to how people feel and behave in long-term relationships, such as those between parent and child or between romantic partners (see attachment in adults).

You can easily find much information about attachment theory on the internet. Here is a good short video about the origins of Bowlby’s attachment theory.

Obviously, attachment is not only interesting for researchers, but the general public benefits from understanding attachment.

If you relate positively to others and yourself, you probably have a secure attachment style. Securely attached people are generally happy in their relationships, feeling that they and others are sensitive and responsive to each other. They sense that connection can provide comfort and relief in times of need. They also feel that they are good, loved, accepted, and competent people.

— psychologist Leslie Becker-Phelps on Psychology Today

There are quite a few different tests of measuring attachment. One of them is the State Adult Attachment Measure (SAAM) of Gillath and colleagues (2009). It consists of 21 Likert style questions. It measures 3 different aspects of adult attachment:

  1. Security

  2. Anxiety

  3. Avoidance

There are 21 Likert-style questions with a score between 1 and 7 (7 for each of the three subscales).

Learn more about the various attachment styles (such as secure or avoidant) in romantic relationships, check this on

Run the demo

This scale was published in the Gillath et al. 2009 paper and can be used for research. As always, make sure the original study and authors are acknowledged.


This is a simple set of Likert style questions implemented using a scale and a scale question.

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
scale: agreesaam
- disagree strongly
- ...
- ...
- neutral / mixed
- ...
- ...
- agree strongly

l: saam
t: scale agreesaam
o: random
o: width 50%
q: The following statements concern how you feel <b>right now</b>. Please respond to each statement by indicating how much you agree or disagree with it as it reflects <b>your current feelings</b>. Please indicate how you feel at the moment:
- I wish someone would tell me they really love me
- I would be uncomfortable having a good friend or a relationship partner close to me
- I feel alone and yet don't feel like getting close to others
- I feel loved
- I wish someone close could see me now
- If something went wrong right now I feel like I could depend on someone
- I feel like others care about me
- I feel a strong need to be unconditionally loved right now
- I am afraid someone will want to get too close to me
- If someone tried to get close to me, I would try to keep my distance
- I feel relaxed knowing that close others are there for me right now
- I really need to feel loved right now
- I feel like I have someone to rely on
- I want to share my feelings with someone
- I feel like I am loved by others but I really don't care
- The idea of being emotionally close to someone makes me nervous
- I want to talk with someone who cares for me about things that are worrying me
- I feel secure and close to other people
- I really need someone's emotional support
- I feel I can trust the people who are close to me
- I have mixed feelings about being close to other people

l: saam_avoidance
t: set
- mean $saam.2 $saam.3 $saam.9 $saam.10 $saam.15 $saam.16 $saam.21

l: saam_security
t: set
- mean $saam.4 $saam.6 $saam.7 $saam.11 $saam.13 $saam.18 $saam.20

l: saam_anxiety
t: set
- mean $saam.1 $saam.5 $saam.8 $saam.12 $saam.14 $saam.17 $saam.19

l: feedback
t: radio
q: Your attachment scores for security, avoidance, and anxiety are as follows:<br>
Security: {$saam_security}<br>
Avoidance: {$saam_avoidance}<br>
Anxiety: {$saam_anxiety}<br>
Note: Each of these three scales runs from 1.0 to 7.0, with midpoint 4.0.<br><br>
<br>For details about these scores, please read the paper by Gillath and colleagues (details on the PsyToolkit website, which you will get a link back to at the end of this survey).
- Okay

References and links