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

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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