Mental health assessment tools for perinatal and early childhood services and research

MORS-SF development

​The development of MORS-SF is described in the following research documents:

Oates, J. and Gervai, J. (2019) ‘Mothers’ perceptions of their infants’,
Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, vol. 33, pp. 282-300.


A mother's perceptions of her infant are a core component of her working model of attachment. Interview methods of assessing mothers' perceptions of their infants, while providing detailed and rich information, are time-intensive in administration and analysis. Therefore, a questionnaire measure would be of value for research and healthcare practice. A 44-item questionnaire was developed to investigate the axes along which maternal models are organized. It was predicted that two primary axes, warmth and invasiveness, would be identified, and questionnaire data were collected from mothers in Great Britain and Hungary. The predicted axes were confirmed and a 14-item short-form questionnaire, with good psychometric properties, was derived.

You can access the paper here:

Oates, J., Gervai, J., Danis, I., Lakatos, K. and Davies, J. (2018) ‘Validation of the Mothers’ Object Relations Scales Short-Form (MORS-SF)’,
Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, vol. 33, pp. 38–50.


A 14-item questionnaire, MORS-SF, was developed in a previous study to assess mothers’ representations of their infants. It was found to have good psychometric properties, being sufficiently reliable and internally valid to enable the further validation of the instrument with additional independently collected datasets. This paper reports the successful validation of MORS-SF against other measures in both the original Hungarian and British samples and also in new samples in both countries, showing predicted relationships with other measures in the original and the independent validation datasets. It is concluded that this is a valid tool, with uses in research and health practice.

You can access the paper here:

ldikó, D., Scheuring, N., Gervai, J., Oates, J.M. and Czinner, A. (2013) ‘A rövidített szülö-csecsemö kapcsolat skála Magyar változának (H-MORS-SF) pszichometriai mutatói nagy mintán’ (Psychometric properties of the Hungarian MORS-SF parent-infant relationship measure in a large sample), Psychiatria Hungarica, vol. 27, pp. 392–405.


The Mothers’ Object Relations Scale (MORS) was developed by John M. Oates (Open University, Milton Keynes, UK) in the late 1990s. The MORS is an appropriate instrument for gathering parental perceptions about the child and the parent-infant relationship. The questionnaire and its short form were improved further and validated in British and Hungarian samples in the beginning of the 2000s and the questionnaire was used in several applied studies in the UK where its predictive validity was further confirmed.

The development and validation phases were based on small samples. The diverse social-demographic characteristics of the For Healthy Offspring project, allowed for further testing the reliability and validity of the Hungarian short-form in a large (n=1164) sample.

High internal consistency was found in the original and the imputed data obtained from parents of 0–3-year old children for both of H-MORS-SF dimensions: Invasion and Warmth. The scales had interpretable and systematic cross-correlations with measures of infant temperament (IBQ-R, ECBQ) and mental state (DS1K) of both parents. These results confirm and exceed the previous results based on small samples.

Given the convincing psychometric indicators and its fast and simple usage, the H-MORS-SF can be considered as an effective preventive screening test for monitoring the developing parent-infant relationship, therefore we suggest its use for professionals working in developmental psychology, child health and social fields.

You can access the paper (in Hungarian) here: