• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In this essay I will be looking at two theories of attachment, Kegan et al 1982 and Bowlby '58.

Extracts from this document...


In this essay I will be looking at two theories of attachment, "an intense emotional relationship...enduring over time and in which prolonged separation...is accompanied by stress and sorrow" (Kagan et al 1982). I will also attempt to evaluate the statement from Bowlby '58, where he says that "Mother love in infancy is as important for mental health as are vitamins and protein for physical health". The two attachment theories I will be looking at are Bowlby's 1953 Monotrophy Theory and Freud's Psychoanalytical Theory. Bowlby initially argued that attachment is an adaptive behaviour due to the human instinct to survive. Infants are born with a predisposition to survive and therefore have to form an attachment in order to gain food, warmth and protection etc. In order for this interaction to take place, the infant is born with Innate Social Releasers that prompt care-giving from the parent through releasers such as crying and cooing etc. Infants also need to form attachments in order to have a "secure base" from which to explore the world around them. This can be seen in securely attached infants, who are happy to explore an unfamiliar room, as long as the person with whom they have their "primary bond" is present (Strange Situation- Ainsworth and Bell 1970). ...read more.


Bowlby says that no infantile attachment leads to problems in adult relationships and Freud says that an unsuccessful transition through any of the five stages will result in regression in later life, for example a child with an oral fixation will suck his thumb, chew pen tops and in later life smoke. Both of these points are true to a certain degree, as there as been countless studies about children who have had maternal deprivation in early infancy and grown up into maladjusted adults. However it is difficult to be able to pinpoint exactly what is the cause of an adults' maladjusted behaviour as there may be numerous reasons, which cannot be reduced to maternal deprivation alone. One major difference between these theories is that while Bowlby recognises that the primary bond doesn't have to be with the mother, Freuds' theory is dependant on the mother or wet nurse. This could lead to implications when trying to apply Freud's theory today, as many infants are not breast-fed at all. Bowlby's theory was very well received in the UK when it was published, as it came just after the second world war, when women were being encouraged to go back to the home and their children, so the men could return to the jobs in the factories etc. ...read more.


It was thought that if food were the source of attachment, as Freud suggested, the monkeys would spend their time on the cylinder that provided food. However they spent most of their time on the one covered with cloth, and whenever they were frightened, would cling to this one rather than the bare one. This proved that the supply of food is simply not enough to from an attachment. However when the monkeys grew up, they suffered from unhealthy psychological development, as they had not received enough responsive "love" from the cylinder. They displayed abusive behaviour towards other monkeys and had difficulty with parenting and mating. This is another example of how maternal care is obligatory, not just to provide food, but to interact and protect the infant, whether they are human or monkey. We can also look at other cultures to see whether this "Monotrophy" bond is unique to western cultures. Fox (1977), looked at life in a Kibbutz. Infants send most of their time with metapelets (nurses) and only see their mothers for a few hours a day. In the Strange Situation, the children protested equally when either woman left, but were comforted more by the return of the mother. This shows that even though the infants have multiple attachments, they are still able to form one special bond. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Developmental Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Developmental Psychology essays

  1. counselling stages of attachement

    were returned to their original home did manage to develop close attachments with their parents. This suggests that factors other than type of care, such as personality or IQ can influence the likelihood of institutionalised children being capable of forming attachments.

  2. This curriculum plan is to be based on children aged between nought to two ...

    To extend this activity for when the children have developed more I would make more cards with animals that are a bit more unusual to know what the babies are called e.g. tiger and cub, frog and tadpole etc. or instead of having all picture cards have names instead but for the names that are simple e.g.

  1. Investigate the stages that infants go through when developing attachments.

    Sound of the bell - conditioned stimulus Food - unconditioned stimulus Salivation - unconditioned response. Operant Conditioning - Skinner - developed the learning theory further. Put a rat inside a box with a lever, which when pressed released rewards (banana milk condensed tablets).

  2. It has been established that human social development depends in a fundamental way on ...

    a psycho-dynamic background of psychology which itself emphasises early experiences and relationships as being crucial to adult well-being, many critics therefore felt his studies were consequently biased and other factors such as environmental may have been overlooked. Further his studies of the effects of war on children who were separated

  1. Infant's Attachments

    "This is an opportunity to provide a basic need for your infant. The more comfortable he or she is, the happier he or she will be. Think how difficult it is for an adult to have positive feelings when they are uncomfortable.

  2. This will involve looking into the organisational structure and culture of the Oceans 11 ...

    As each individual member from Ocean's 11 was preferred because of the distinct capability that they possess had to be important for their potential allocated task. Each member was chosen by examining their previous background and looking into if they had the determination to carry out their specific tasks allocated to them.

  1. Attachment and Separation.

    and in trying to infer what psychical processes may lie behind them we inevitably leave the world of observation and enter the world of theory (i.e., speculation). As regards infants or children's observations he firmly contends:" Since the capacity to restrict associated behaviour increases with age, it is evident that

  2. Psychology Controversy essay, Nature Vs Nurture PY4

    s a g e s   a b o u t   t h e i r   r e l a t i o n s h i p .   T h i s   l e a d s   t h e m   t o

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work