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Theories Of Attachment

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Theories Of Attachment Introduction The theory of attachment has been widely debated for years. It is an important issue because it concerns on how important it is in affecting later adult relationships. A variety of different theories in attachment have been put forward in this essay and point to some of the problems that could happen later in life. Attachment describes patterns of relationships from birth to death. It was first studied with non-humans, then human infants and later in human adults. Attachment theory provides an understanding in emotional reactions in infants, and also the basis for understanding love and behavioural problems such as aggression in adults. Attachment process for the parents seems to begin with the development of an initial emotional bond and then extends to more and more skilful attachment behaviours. For the infant, the process seems to begin with attachment behaviours and then progresses to the full attachment somewhat later. John Bowlby's interest in child development began when he worked as a volunteer at two progressive institutions. Two children the first being an affectionless teenager with no history of any stability, the second an anxious boy aged seven or eight caused bowlby to examine the theory of harmful effects of maternal deprivation in early character development. ...read more.


This is put into doubt by Schaffer & Emerson (1964). Their study of separation anxiety found that infants did show distress but not only with their mothers it was also directed to any adult who interacted or showed attentiveness towards the infant. (As cited in Bower, T.G.R. Human Development). The most widely accepted way of describing variations in the first attachment relationship has been proposed by Mary Ainsworth (1978) who distinguishes between secure attachment and two types of insecure attachment. Ainsworth's method of measuring security of attachment, called the "strange situation", has been widely used. The strange situation consists of a series of episodes in a laboratory setting. The child is first with the mother, then the mother and a stranger, then alone with the stranger, then left completely alone for a few minutes. Next the child is reunited with the mother, then left alone again, and finally re-united with the stranger then with the mother. Ainsworth suggested the children's reactions to this situation could be classified into three groups: securely attached, insecure/avoidant, and insecure/ambivalent. The securely attached infant's mothers had encouraged close positive contact, this showed in the infant's behaviour as they cried less and were the least anxious. ...read more.


(1999). Psychology, 5th Edition). But it is debatable that individual's insecure/secure attachment experiences develop through to adulthood. Secure attachment being that the adult has high self esteem, social competence and good leadership skills, insecure attachment being that the individual suffers disruption and disconnection. Theorists have agreed and disagreed with each others views on attachment, such as Bowlby who disagreed with Freud's cupboard theory, Klein's unconscious childhood fantasy as he said she minimised the importance of the child's experience, yet he agreed with Konrad Lorenz's concept of imprinting with rhesus monkey's. Ainsworth's strange situation theory has been a popular powerful tool in ability to identify patterns of childhood attachment for researchers, yet there is still no conclusive evidence that attachment whether secure or insecure leads to any behavioural problems later in adulthood. Another factor for insecure attachment could be the infant's parents, perhaps Because they did not receive interaction or caregiving from there own parents. In conclusion it is essential for the infants to have a secure initial attachment to the mother. A secure attachment in infancy can remain strong in adolescence and increase into adulthood. The failure of an initial attachment could lead to isolation and disconnection later in life. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 Theories Of Attachment ...read more.

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