Assessment of adult attachment: Construction and validation of a hybrid self-report measure

R. van Geel, Tilly Houtmans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The factorial structure of a combined set of items originating from two frequently used adult attachment measures in the field of psychopathology was examined. By employing exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis in a nonclinical sample (N = 1533), an eight-factor model emerged covering four (higher-order) dimensions: (I) avoidance vs. security (avoidance of intimacy, distrust in others, confidence in self and others) (II) anxiety (preoccupation with others, the need for approval and separation anxiety); (III) relationships as secondary; and (IV) independency. In two validation studies, the interpersonal and affective meaning of these newly formed attachment scales were examined by using instruments that accentuate agentic and communal interpersonal orientations in human contact. Multiple regression analyses indicated that almost 40% of variance in depression and 15% of variance in dissociation could be explained by the hybrid attachment scales. The results show that distrust, preoccupation, and separation anxiety may increase the risk for depression, while confidence seems to diminish it. Distrust and relationships as secondary emerged as the only two significant predictors of dissociation. Notably, close inspection of the eight-factor model challenges the original composition of several subscales of the original questionnaires involved. Possibilities to further improve and extend the multi-dimensional assessment of adult attachment are being discussed in detail.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-32
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Personality Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessment of adult attachment: Construction and validation of a hybrid self-report measure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this