Assessing Attachment of Couples in Therapy: A Factor Analysis of the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale


Adult attachment, Exploratory factor analysis, Therapy


The overall goal of this study was to examine the factor structure of the “Experiences in Close Relationships” instrument (Brennan et al. 1998; ECR) for assessing adult attachment among a clinical sample by conducting a series of exploratory factor analyses (EFA). While the measure demonstrated high reliability and strong validity among the original sample of college undergraduates (Brennan et al.), the factor structure had yet to be examined among participants involved in therapy. It is unclear if any results obtained using the ECR extrapolate to populations other than the original sample. Our findings support the factor structure of the ECR for assessment of attachment anxiety and avoidance among a more diverse, clinical population. Noteworthy differences between men and women also were found in the clinical sample. Finally, clinical implications for use with clients participating in therapy are discussed.

Original Publication Citation

Parker, M. L., Johnson, L. N., & Ketring, S.A. (2011). Assessing attachment of couples in therapy: A factor analysis of the Experiences in Close Relationships scale. Contemporary Family Therapy, 33, 37-48. (DOI) 10.1007/s10591-011-9142

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Contemporary Family Therapy




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor