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Attachment and Bonding

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Attachment and Bonding This essay will discuss, compare and analyse various theories of attachment and bonding, and how it can affect the emotional health of the individual. A well known psychiatrist called John Bowlby made a statement to the World Health Organisation which was as follows: 'The prolonged deprivation of the young child of maternal care may have grave and far reaching effects on his character and so the whole future of his life' John Bowlby was British and trained as a child psychiatrist. He was influenced by Freud's psycho-analytic approach and had strong beliefs that early childhood experiences could influence a child's development. He also believed that attachment was a two way relationship that is formed between the infant and another person, the other person usually being the mother. In Bowlby's theory, there was a biologically based and instinctive need to build attachment. (Gross 2005) Bowlby was particularly interested in the effects of separation of children from their parents. He studied a group of post war children, bearing in mind these children had been through evacuation, deportation, and bereavement, and they had also suffered the disruption which was happening to families all over Europe. Bowlby studied in depth the children who had been separated from their parents and alongside this he interviewed disturbed adolescents, he found a strong link between what he called 'maternal deprivation' and the problems in adult life such as mental illness, delinquency and difficulties in parenting. (Beckett 2002) In 1946 John Bowlby had been requested to study the family history of 44 juvenile thieves, from his study Bowlby discovered that out ...read more.


(Gross, 2005) Ainsworth also studied the attachment process in the Ganda community of Uganda, she recorded how the babies would stop crying if they where held by their mothers, but would not stop if anyone else picked them up. Babies in the Ganda tribe slept with their mothers and where breast fed until they where about 2 years old, when compared to babies from Baltimore, USA it was noted that the cultural difference would affect their reactions depending on their previous experience of separation. (Thomas et al, 1997 ) Like Bowlby, Ainsworth had strong beliefs that the quality of a child and parent attachment was developed through the care provided by the primary carer. She believed that the crucial ingredient to successful parenting was determined on how capable the parent was on being able to pick up and respond to the child's signals. Ainsworth tested whether there was an association between mothers who displayed low levels of sensitive responsiveness from which this behaviour babies developed insecure attachments. (Jarvis et al, 2001) Ainsworth also categorised attachment into three stages. The first is referred to as the 'anxious avoidant stage', during this stage the child's behaviour was to ignore the mother, because of indifferences towards her, the child also carried on playing regardless of whether the mother was there or not, little or no signs where recorded if the mother left the room and it was noted that the child ignored the mother when she returned. It was also noted that the child could be comforted by the stranger as easily as it could by the mother. (Gross, 2005) ...read more.


It is also regarded as necessary for the development of attachments, attachments which are intense, emotional ties to specific people. It has also been concluded by many theorists that there is a critical period for attachment to take place, and if this does not occur to be a strong and secure attachment the outcome is likely that the individual will have some emotional difficulties later in life. Research such as the 'strange situation' has been used to classify the infants basic attachment, the crucial feature in this experiment was the sensitivity of the mother. Through out research and various experiments the effects on mental health have been associated with the lack of maternal care at an early age. (Gross, 2005) Reference List R.L Atkinson, R.C.Atkinson, E.E.Smith, D.J.Ben, E.R,Higard. Introduction to Psychology, Tenth Edition, 1990, Harcourt Brace Jovanich Publishers, Orlando, Florida,USA C.Beckett, Human Growth and Development. 2002, Sage Publications Ltd, 6 Bonhill Street, London Uk R.Gross.Psychology the Science of Mind and Behaviour, 2005, Fifth Edition, Hoddder Arnold, Hodder Headline Group, 338 Euston Road, London, UK M.Jarvis, E.Chandler.J.Russel. Angles on Child Psychology, 2001, Nelson Thornes Ltd, Delta Place, 27 Bath Road, Cheltenham, UK Http://www.mental-health-abc.comm Accessed 25/1/07. P.H.Mussen, J.J.Conger, J.Kagen, A.C Huston, Child Development and Personality, Sixth Edition, 1984, Harper & Row Publishers, Harper & Row, Publishers Inc, 10 East 53d Street, New York, USA Http://www.psychology.about.com/attach . K.V.Wagner, Accessed 25/1/07 Http://www.studio3.org/clinical/#t .Accessed 25/1/07. H.Thomson, C.Meggitt. Human Growth and Development for Health and Social Care,1997, Hodder & Stoughton, Hodder Headline Plc, 338 Euston Road, London, UK LT International Inc - Mental Health ABC www.mental-health-abc.com Health ABC www.mental-health-abc.com LT International Inc - Mental Health ABC www.mental-health-abc.com ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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