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Attachment Theory

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Introduction

Running head: ATTACHMENT THEORY Sabina Yeasmin Central High School May 19, 2009 Attachment Theory of John Bowlby and Harry Harlow "Attachment is a special emotional relationship that involves an exchange of comfort, care, and pleasure." There are a few theories out there, dealing with attachment in human beings. But two in particular stand out. One theory is called the theory of attachment as an innate process; a theory made by John Bowlby. Another theory, made by Harry Harlow, is called the theory of attachment as "contact comfort". John Bowlby, considered the father of the attachment theory, did extensive research in this area. He came up with this concept of this attachment after testing the relation between children in hospitals and their mothers. Bowlby explained this attachment of child to caregiver as a "lasting psychological connectedness between human beings." He also said that early childhood experiences of attachment greatly influence the development and behavior later in life. ...read more.

Middle

"These data make it obvious that contact comfort is a variable of overwhelming importance in the development of affectional response, whereas lactation is a variable of negligible importance" (Harlow 1958). This disproved existing theories of love which focused on the idea that "the earliest attachment between a mother and child was merely a means for the child to obtain food, relieve thirst, and avoid pain" (Van Wagner, 2009). Both Harlow and Bowlby have theories of their own about attachment, and consequently they support each other. Both reject the traditional view that affection and mother-infant attachment is based merely on food and the infant's huger drive (van der Horst & van der Veer, 2008). Harlow's conclusion of the rhesus monkeys and their attachment to the terry cloth mother (representing as their monkey mother counterparts) rather than nourishment (wire mother) support this rejection. Both theories also conclude that early types of attachment affect relationship and life later on. "Attachment can be defined as the strong bond that develops first between parent and child, and later in peer and romantic relationships," said the great Bowlby (1969). ...read more.

Conclusion

Ambivalent attachment consists of an infant who is distressed, clingy, and over-dependent. Avoidant attachment has infants who show no preference between strangers or caregivers, and doesn't really care for contact or attention either. And finally the fourth and last attachment called the disorganized attachment consists of a child who is confused because their caregiver is a symbol of fear and comfort. All these different insecure attachments have great negative impact later on in the infants' lives including forming insecure relationships, taking a parental role over the caregivers, not being able to share thoughts and feelings, etc. Overall, it can be said that although the theory of Harlow and the theory of Bowlby focuses on two different aspects of attachment, in the end the theories support each other. While Harlow focuses on attachment as "contact comfort" while Bowlby focuses his theory on attachment as an innate process. In the end both theories agree with each other, supporting the fact that animals and humans are born with a pre-disposition to form an attachment that deals with more than relieving the child of hunger. Reference http://psychology.about.com/od/loveandattraction/ss/attachmentstyle.htm http://psychology.about.com/b/2007/11/16/attachment-theory.htm http://social.jrank.org/pages/103/Bowlby-John-1907-1990.html http://psychology.cse.edu/DuarteEdwardsMendoza%20AinsworthAttachment%202006/b efore_mary_ainsworth.htm http://www.healthline.com/galecontent/attachment-between-infant-and-caregiver http://psychology.about.com/od/historyofpsychology/p/harlow_love.htm http://www.springerlink.com/content/e646773071l7k276/fulltext.pdf ?? ?? ?? ?? Attachment 1 ...read more.

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