Emotional Availability Scales

The Emotional Availability Scales (EA Scales) measures the quality of parent-child or adult-child interactions. Emotional availability refers to “the adult’s ‘receptive presence’ to the child’s emotional signals” (Biringen and Easterbrooks, 2012). Created by Dr. Zeynep Biringen, Ph.D., in 1987, the instrument is currently in its 4th edition. The EA Scales consist of both adult and child subscales and can be completed in approximately 20 minutes.



Adult sensitivity; adult structuring; adult non-intrusiveness; adult non-hostility; child responsiveness to adult; child involvement of the adult

Birth-14 years

Administration information

20 minutes
3-day face-to-face, in vivo, group training or self-paced distance training using reading, lecture, and practice on 10 training videos required

Access and Use

Instrument Use in Peer-Reviewed Studies

De Falco, S., G. Esposito, P. Venuti, and M. H. Bornstein. 2008. “Fathers’ Play with Their Down Syndrome Children.” Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 52 (6): 490–502. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2788.2008.01052.x.

Doesum, Karin T. M. van, Clemens M. H. Hosman, J. Marianne Riksen-Walraven, and Cees Hoefnagels. 2007. “Correlates of Depressed Mothers’ Sensitivity toward Their Infants: The Role of Maternal, Child, and Contextual Characteristics.” Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 46 (6): 747.

McMahon, Catherine A., and Elizabeth Meins. 2012. “Mind-Mindedness, Parenting Stress, and Emotional Availability in Mothers of Preschoolers.” Early Childhood Research Quarterly 27 (2): 245–52. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2011.08.002.

IJzendoorn, Marinus H. van, Anna H. Rutgers, Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg, Sophie H. N. Swinkels, Emma van Daalen, Claudine Dietz, Fabienne B. A. Naber, Jan K. Buitelaar, and Herman van Engeland. 2007. “Parental Sensitivity and Attachment in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Comparison with Children with Mental Retardation, with Language Delays, and with Typical Development.” Child Development 78 (2): 597–608. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2007.01016.x.

Bornstein, Marc H., Motti Gini, Joan T. D. Suwalsky, Diane L. Putnick, and O. Maurice Haynes. 2006. “Emotional Availability in Mother-Child Dyads: Short-Term Stability and Continuity from Variable-Centered and Person-Centered Perspectives.” Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Journal of Developmental Psychology 52 (3): 547–71.

Bornstein, Marc H., Motti Gini, Diane L. Putnick, O. Maurice Haynes, Kathleen M. Painter, and Joan T. D. Suwalsky. 2006. “Short-Term Reliability and Continuity of Emotional Availability in Mother-Child Dyads across Contexts of Observation.” Infancy 10 (1): 1–16.

Lam-Cassettari, Christa, Meghana B. Wadnerkar-Kamble, and Deborah M. James. 2015. “Enhancing Parent-Child Communication and Parental Self-Esteem with a Video-Feedback Intervention: Outcomes with Prelingual Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children.” Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education 20 (3): 266–74. https://doi.org/10.1093/deafed/env008.

Koren-Karie, Nina, David Oppenheim, Smadar Dolev, and Nurit Yirmiya. 2009. “Mothers of Securely Attached Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Are More Sensitive than Mothers of Insecurely Attached Children.” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 50 (5): 643–50. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.02043.x.

Kaplan, Peter S., Aaron P. Burgess, Jessica K. Sliter, and Amanda J. Moreno. 2009. “Maternal Sensitivity and the Learning-Promoting Effects of Depressed and Nondepressed Mothers’ Infant-Directed Speech.” Infancy 14 (2): 143–61.

Feniger-Schaal, Rinat, and David Oppenheim. 2013. “Resolution of the Diagnosis and Maternal Sensitivity among Mothers of Children with Intellectual Disability.” Research in Developmental Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal 34 (1): 306–13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2012.08.007.

Hostyn, Ine, Katja Petry, Greet Lambrechts, and Bea Maes. 2011. “Evaluating the Quality of the Interaction between Persons with Profound Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities and Direct Support Staff: A Preliminary Application of Three Observation Scales from Parent-Infant Research.” Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities 24 (5): 407–20. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-3148.2010.00618.x.


Manual scoring
Open Access
Resources on Psychometric Properties

Biringen, Derscheid, Vliegen, Closson, & Easterbrooks, 2014. Emotional Availability (EA): Theoretical background, empirical research using the EA Scales, and clinical applications. Developmental Review, 34, 114-167.

Biringen, Zeynep, and M. Ann Easterbrooks. 2012. “Emotional Availability: Concept, Research, and Window on Developmental Psychopathology.” Development and Psychopathology 24 (01): 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579411000617.