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What's Your Attachment Style? Take the Test!

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Ever wondered how well you bond in relationships? Now you can find out.

couple hugging each other

Dr. Wendy Walsh: Attachment Theory is a school of thought that holds that everyone has a certain kind of internal attachment style based on a genetic predisposition and the kind of parenting we received as infants and toddlers. In a nutshell, the theory is this: If a child's basic emotional and physical needs are met by a consistent, primary attachment figure, that child has a darned good chance of growing up to love themselves, to trust people, to trust love, and to seek out partners who actually help him or her recreate that familiar feeling of mother love. Attachment theorists refer to these lucky lovers as having an ability to "securely attach." Unfortunately, people who fall into this attachment category only make up about 20 percent of our American population.

The rest of us are filled with anxiety and/or avoidance about emotional intimacy. Want to know where you stand? Take the following test. Allow yourself about 20 minutes in total, and grab a calculator because scoring is a bit timely.

Once you obtain your score, think for a moment about today's hook-ups, dates, and marriages. Who are the players that prefer a certain type of arrangement? Might it be that those sexually adventurous, culturally progressive partners in hook-ups are actually emotional avoidant, dismissive boys and girls who conveniently use the rules of a hook-up for their own inadequacies?

Or worse, might the anxious gals and guys go after the hook-up culture as a way to unconsciously live out their own trauma, again and again? That is, they may painfully wait by the phone for the hook-up to call back and morph into a real suitor. These people are more likely addicted to longing than to comfortable feelings of love. What about those who date, maybe even live together, but avoid the big M? Could they be kind of fearful and avoidant?

And, the "eligible for marriage" types? Could the gazillion-dollar wedding industry only be fueled by securely attached people? I don't think so. If so, why do they need such a public display of commitment? A cream-colored vintage dress at City Hall might do as well, if it is really based on a secure commitment. But as you can see, there is much more going on below the surface, and sometimes paying a ton of money and getting married in front of a giant crowd can be a sign of INSECURITY about love.

So, here you go. Enjoy the ride into your internal world!

The Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised (ECR-R) Questionnaire by Fraley, Waller, and Brennan (2000)

The statements below concern how you feel in emotionally intimate relationships. Answer the questions in terms of how you generally experience relationships, not just in what is happening in a current relationship. Respond to each statement by giving a number from 1 through 7 to indicate how much you agree or disagree with the statement, with 1 = strongly disagree and 7 = strongly agree. At the end of the survey, you will find some slightly complicated scoring instructions. Trust me -- you can get through this. Use a calculator.

1. It's not difficult for me to get close to my partner.
2. I often worry that my partner will not want to stay with me.
3. I often worry that my partner doesn't really love me.
4. It helps to turn to my romantic partner in times of need.
5. I often wish that my partner's feelings for me were as strong as my feelings for him or her.
6. I worry a lot about my relationships.
7. I feel comfortable depending on romantic partners.
8. When I show my feelings for romantic partners, I'm afraid they will not feel the same about me.
9. I rarely worry about my partner leaving me.
10. My partner only seems to notice me when I'm angry.
11. I feel comfortable depending on romantic partners.
12. I do not often worry about being abandoned.
13. My romantic partner makes me doubt myself.
14. I find that my partner(s) doesn't want to get as close as I would like.
15. I'm afraid that I will lose my partner's love.
16. My desire to be very close sometimes scares people away.
17. I worry that I won't measure up to other people.
18. I find it easy to depend on romantic partners.
19. I prefer not to show a partner how I feel deep down.
20. I feel comfortable sharing my private thoughts and feelings with my partner.
21. I worry that romantic partners won't care about me as much as I care about them.
22. I find it difficult to allow myself to depend on romantic partners.
23. I'm afraid that once a romantic partner gets to know me, he or she won't like who I really am.
24. I am very comfortable being close to romantic partners.
25. I don't feel comfortable opening up to romantic partners.
26. I prefer not to be too close to romantic partners.
27. I get uncomfortable when a romantic partner wants to be very close.
28. I find it relatively easy to get close to my partner.
29. I usually discuss my problems and concerns with my partner.
30. I tell my partner just about everything.
31. Sometimes romantic partners change their feelings about me for no apparent reason.
32. When my partner is out of sight, I worry that he or she might become interested in someone else.
33. I am nervous when partners get too close to me.
34. It's easy for me to be affectionate with my partner.
35. It makes me mad that I don't get the affection and support I need from my partner.
36. My partner really understands me and my needs.


1. Some answers need to be reverse scored, like this: 1=7, 2=6, 3=5, 4=4, 5=3, 6=2, 7=1. Take all the numerical answers to the following questions and give them a new, reversed score: 1, 4, 7, 9, 11, 12, 18, 20, 24, 28, 29, 30, 34, 36.

2. Take the scores to all the following question numbers and average them (2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 23, 31, 32, 35). This is your score for attachment-related anxiety. It can range from 18 through 126. The higher the number, the more anxious and preoccupied you are about relationships.

3. Take the scores to the following questions and average them (1, 4, 7, 11, 18, 19, 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 33, 34, 36). This score indicates your attachment-related avoidance. The higher the score, the more you avoid intimacy in relationships.

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1 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous November 3, 2009, 8:36 AM

AVERAGE the scores or ADD them? Because I came up with 3.8 for the first one and 4.6 for the second. I think she means ADD them.

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