Attachment theory is the joint work of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth that examine a particular emotional relationship that involves an exchange of comfort. attention. and pleasance. John Bowlby devoted extended research to the construct of fond regard and depict it as a connection between persons that is psychologically permanent and through Mary Ainsworth’s advanced methodological analysis non merely has she made it possible to prove some of Bowlby’s thoughts through empirical observation but has besides helped spread out the theory itself. This paper will analyze the theory of Bowlby’s and Ainsworth theory of fond regard and conclude with some of the unfavorable judgments that this theory faces.

Attachment Theory: A Chemical bond for Specific Others
As human beings we are born into life with an innate demand to experience connected to those that surround us. John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth have known this demand for a sense of psychological lasting connection as attachment theory. Attachment theory is a theory. or group of theories. about the psychological inclination to seek intimacy to another individual. to experience secure when that individual is present. and to experience dying when that individual is absent. In Theories of Development by William Crain it is proposed that fond regard theory developed through development as it is stated that:

Throughout most of human history. worlds likely moved approximately in little groups. seeking for nutrient. and frequently put on the lining attack by big marauders. When threatened. worlds. like other archpriest groups. likely cooperated to drive off marauders and protect the sick and immature. To derive this protection. kids needed to remain near to adults…Thus kids must hold evolved attachment behaviors-gestures and signals that promote and maintain propinquity to caretakers ( 2005 ) .

Pulling on constructs from ethology. cybernetics. information processing. developmental psychological science. and psychoanalysts. John Bowlby formulated the basic dogmas of the theory. He revolutionized psychological thought about a child’s ties to the female parent and its break through separation. want. and mourning. Mary Ainsworth’s advanced methodological analysis non merely made it possible to prove some of Bowlby’s thoughts through empirical observation but besides helped spread out the theory. Ainsworth contributed the construct of the attachment figure as a unafraid base from which an baby can research the universe ( Engler. 2006 ) . Psychologist John Bowlby was the first attachment theoretician. depicting fond regard as a “lasting psychological connection between human beings” ( Engler. 2006 ) . Attachment theory is a agency of endurance. Bowlby states “the leaning to do strong emotional bonds to peculiar persons [ is ] a basic constituent of human nature” ( Engler. 2006 ) . Within attachment theory. infant behaviour associated with fond regard is chiefly a procedure of propinquity seeking to an identified attachment figure in nerve-racking state of affairss. for the intent of endurance ( Crain. 2005 ) .

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Babies go attached to grownups who are sensitive and antiphonal in societal interactions with the baby. and who remain as consistent health professionals for some months during the period from about six months to two old ages of age ( Engler. 2006 ) . During the ulterior portion of this period. kids begin to utilize attachment figures as secure bases in which they are able to research from and return to. Parental responses lead to the development of forms of fond regard which in bend lead to internal working theoretical accounts which will steer the individual’s feelings. ideas. and outlooks in ulterior relationships ( Engler. 2006 ) . All in all attachment theory can be summed up by this statement “ [ fond regard theory is an ] observation of how a really immature kid behaves towards his mother…When removed from the female parent by aliens. immature kids react normally with great strength ; and after reunion with her. anxiousness or else unusual detachment” ( Lee. 2003 ) . The cardinal subject of attachment theory is that health professionals who are available and antiphonal to their infant’s needs set up a sense of security. The baby knows that the health professional is reliable. which creates a unafraid base for the kid to so research the universe ( Crain. 2005 ) .

In her 1970’s research. psychologist Mary Ainsworth expanded greatly upon Bowlby’s original work. To analyze how kids would utilize their mother’s as a base to research and how they would react to two separate yet. brief separations Ainsworth’s groundbreaking “Strange Situation” survey revealed the profound effects of fond regard on behaviour. In the survey. research workers observed kids between the ages of 12 and 18 months and documented how the kid responded to a separation from female parent in which the kid was left with a alien and the another separation in which the kid was left entirely and so reunited with their female parents ( Crain. 2005 ) . Based upon the responses the research workers observed. Ainsworth noted three manners of fond regard: secure fond regard. insecure-avoidant fond regard. and insecure-ambivalent fond regard. A figure of surveies since that clip have supported Ainsworth’s fond regard manners and have indicated that fond regard manners besides have an impact on behaviours subsequently in life.

Securely affiliated kids exhibit minimum hurt when separated from health professionals. When observed in the unusual state of affairs these kids were noted to utilize their mother’s as a base from which to research. When the female parent left the room the kid became seemingly upset. Upon the return of the female parent the kid so greeted the female parent and remained in close contact with her momentarily and so one time once more used her as a base to research ( Crain. 2005 ) . Harmonizing to Ainsworth secure fond regards are noted to be the healthiest fond regard type for a kid to exhibit. The kid is clearly confident and capable of confiding in the female parent as a defender. While the kid does go disquieted when the female parent leave the room he/she remains assured that the parent or health professional will return. When frightened. firmly affiliated kids will seek comfort from health professionals as these kids know their parent or health professional will supply comfort and reassurance and because of this they are comfy seeking them out in times of demand ( Engler. 2006 ) .

Children that exhibit an insecure-avoidant fond regard manner tend to avoid parents or health professionals. In Ainsworth’s survey these persons were noted to be independent. When the entered the unusual state of affairs the instantly began play with the playthings that were present and did non happen it necessary to utilize their mother’s as a secure base in which to research from as the kid merely neglected his/hers mother’s presence ( Crain. 2005 ) . When the female parent left the room the kid did non become disquieted and when the female parent reentered the room the kid continued to disregard the presence of the female parent. When offered a pick. these kids will demo no penchant between a health professional and a complete alien. Research has suggested that this attachment manner might be a consequence of opprobrious or inattentive health professionals ( Engler. 2006 ) . Children who are punished for trusting on a health professional will larn to avoid seeking aid in the hereafter.

Children that exhibit an insecure-ambivalent fond regard manner normally become really hard-pressed when a parent leaves. In the unusual state of affairs these kids were noted to be extremely concerned with their female parents presence and due to this were unable to utilize their female parent as a secure base for geographic expedition as they remained clung to their female parents side. When the female parent left the room they became progressively upset and when the female parent returned they were seen as being ambivalent as they pushed her off ( Crain. 2005 ) . This attachment manner is considered comparatively uncommon. impacting an estimated 10-15 % of U. S. kids. Research suggests that insecure-ambivalent fond regard is a consequence of hapless and inconsistent maternal handiness. These kids can non depend on their female parent to be at that place when in demand.

Attachment is an built-in portion of development but what happens when kids are unable to organize secure fond regards? Research suggests that failure to organize secure fond regards early in life can hold a negative impact on behaviour in subsequently childhood and throughout the life ( Crain. 2005 ) . Children diagnosed with oppositional-defiant upset ( ODD ) . behavior upset ( Cadmium ) . or post-traumatic emphasis upset ( PTSD ) often display attachment jobs. perchance due to early maltreatment. disregard. or injury ( Lee. 2003 ) . Clinicians suggest that kids adopted after the age of six months have a higher hazard of jobs with fond regard as it becomes more hard for these kids to confide in their health professional. While attachment manners displayed in maturity are non needfully the same as those seen in babyhood. research suggests that early fond regards can hold a serious impact on ulterior relationships.

For illustration. those who are firmly attached in childhood tend to hold good self-pride. strong romantic relationships. and the ability to self-disclose to others. Through research it has been found that grownups display one of three attachment manners: secure/autonomous. anxious-preoccupied or dismissive-avoidant. Within the field of psychological science it is noted that as worlds a “child has an instinctual demand to remain near to a parent on whom she has imprinted” ( Crain. 2005 ) and while this holds to be true their remains some reviews to attachment theory as proposed by Bowlby and Ainsworth. In respects to the unusual state of affairs as proposed by Ainsworth Jerome Kagan believes that her theory does non take into consideration the function of unconditioned disposition ( Crain. 2005 ) or pre-programmed cognition. As proposed by Kagan babies that employ an avoidant fond regard manner do so non as a defence nevertheless. it is a manner to show their innate fright.

Another predicament of attachment theory is that it is limited entirely to the primary attachment figure. the female parent. even though kids have other fond regards to other persons. which is displayed in different ways ( Lee. 2003 ) . For illustration. a kid may shout as his or her female parent is fixing to go forth. but for a sibling the kid may merely go disquieted. Life and development is about the fond regards and the interactions that one makes get downing at an early age. In bend these attachment form the hereafter personality and fond regards that a kid will hold subsequently on in life. Deducing from evolutionary rules this theory has explained why kids are drawn to a primary figure and explains the behaviours that are displayed when these primary persons are non about. While there are unfavorable judgments out at that place this theory will go on to explicate the societal reactivity of all.


Crain. William ( 2005 ) . Theories of Development: Concepts and Application ( 5th ED ) . Upper Saddle River. New jersey: Pearson Education Inc. Engler. Barbara ( 2006 ) . Personality Theories: Seventh Edition. Boston. MA: Houghton Mifflin Company. Lee. E. J. ( 2003. Decembere ) . The Attachment System Throughout the Life Course: Review and Criticisms of Attachment Theory. Retrieved July 11. 2009. from Rochester Institute of Technology Web site: hypertext transfer protocol: //www. personalityresearch. org/papers/lee. hypertext markup language


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