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What is meant by the development and variety of attachment?

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Introduction

What is meant by the development and variety of attachment? The term "attachment" is one which psychologists define as "a strong, long-lasting emotional tie to a particular individual". Although this definition is universally accepted, psychologists disagree about certain aspects of attachment. In this essay I aim to discuss the development and variety of attachments, and to outline the conclusions and disagreements of psychologists regarding these matters. Schaffer & Emerson's (1964) study into Glasgow babies was designed to find out about the development of attachments. The study involved keeping detailed records of their observations of babies from an area of Glasgow over 2 years. Infants were monitored every four weeks until the age of one year, and then again at 18 months. Schaffer & Emerson used two ways of measuring attachment: Separation Protest (the protest shown upon separation from an attachment figure) and Stranger Anxiety (the anxiety shown in the presence of a stranger). Both these factors are indicative of the formation of an attachment. The findings of Schaffer & Emerson were divided into four main points: Half of the children showed their first specific attachment between 6 and 8 months, and fear of strangers occurred about 1 month after; The intensity of attachment peaked during the first month that it was formed; Soon after the primary (first and most important) ...read more.

Middle

Type C infants also tend to ignore the stranger. In 1986, Main & Solomon identified a fourth type, or Type D attachment. These infants, labelled as Insecurely attached - disorganised show no set pattern of behaviour towards a caregiver. Wariness of the caregiver is sometimes shown, with infants moving towards the caregiver, but refusing to look at them: behaviour which is often associated with abused infants or those whose caregivers are severely depressed. The suggested causes of attachment can be grouped under two main headings: Infant temperament & Cultural differences. In 1982, Kagan developed the Temperament Hypothesis, which suggested that attachment varies according to certain innate or temperamental characteristics in a person. Kagan believed that some children are innately more vulnerable to stress than others, so the response of a child in the "strange situation" study will differ in accordance with their innate temperament. Research that corroborates this was conducted by Waters (1978), who found that newborns who are less able to attend people and objects are more likely to from insecure attachments. Further research was conducted by Belsky & Rovine (1987) who found that newborns who showed signs of behavioural instability (e.g. ...read more.

Conclusion

Bowlby asserted that there are four main topics involved in attachment: He believed that in order to form a strong emotional bond, a physical attachment is necessary, therefore proximity is vital. He also believed in monotrophy, or the innate tendency to become attached to one particular individual. Another of Bowlby's theories was that an infant's relationship with it's mother provided a template for all future relationships, and he called this the internal working model. His final theory was that a child's strong attachment to a mother figure is essential for their cognitive development. Although his theory of attachment was revolutionary, there is evidence to contrast some of it's points. In 1976, Lamb's study showed that children have no preference for their mother or father in an un-stressful situation, and Schaffer & Emerson's (1964) study provides evidence against monotrophy, as 30% of the children had multiple attachments. As you can see, there are many different aspects of both development and variety of attachment. Many theories about the development of attachments have appeared over the years, but it is very difficult to prove conclusively how attachments are formed, as things which are innate cannot be measured. However, I do believe that all the theories provide some insight into the way an attachment is formed, and the resultant effects of this attachment. ...read more.

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