Bowlby & Ainsworth: What Is Attachment Theory? Attachment theory is focused on the relationships and bonds between people, particularly long- term relationships, including those between a parent and child and between romantic partners. How the Attachment Theory Developed. British psychologist John Bowlby was the first attachment theorist, describing attachment as a "lasting psychological connectedness between human beings."Bowlby was interested in understanding the separation anxiety and distress that children experience when separated from their primary caregivers. Some of the earliest behavioral theories suggested that attachment was simply a learned behavior. These theories proposed that attachment was merely the result of the feeding relationship between the child and the caregiver. Because the caregiver feeds the child and provides nourishment, the child becomes attached.
What Bowlby observed is that even feedings did not diminish the anxiety experienced by children when they were separated from their primary caregivers. Instead, he found that attachment was characterized by clear behavioral and motivation patterns. When children are frightened, they will seek proximity from their primary caregiver in order to receive both comfort and care. What Is Attachment?
Working With Attachment Styles In Adults
The above model (taken from Bartholomew, 1990) is one representation of attachment styles, or ways of dealing with attachment, separation, and loss in close personal. Non-profit organization that helps create local support groups, and publishes educational and research materials for parents and professionals. Includes FAQ, articles. Understanding Attachment Disorders in Children. At least since Freud we have recognized that the infant-mother relationship is pivotal to the child's emerging. Attachment theory began in the 1950s with the work of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. Bowlby, an English psychiatrist, became interested in.
Attachment is an emotional bond to another person. Bowlby believed that the earliest bonds formed by children with their caregivers have a tremendous impact that continues throughout life. He suggested that attachment also serves to keep the infant close to the mother, thus improving the child's chances of survival. He viewed attachment as a product of evolutionary processes.
While the behavioral theories of attachment suggested that attachment was a learned process, Bowlby and others proposed that children are born with an innate drive to form attachments with caregivers. Throughout history, children who maintained proximity to an attachment figure were more likely to receive comfort and protection, and therefore more likely to survive to adulthood. Through the process of natural selection, a motivational system designed to regulate attachment emerged. So what determines successful attachment? Behaviorists suggest that it was food that led to forming this attachment behavior, but Bowlby and others demonstrated that nurturance and responsiveness were the primary determinants of attachment. Printable English Placement Test For Adults. The central theme of attachment theory is that primary caregivers who are available and responsive to an infant's needs allow the child to develop a sense of security.
The infant knows that the caregiver is dependable, which creates a secure base for the child to then explore the world. Ainsworth's 'Strange Situation'In her 1.
Mary Ainsworth expanded greatly upon Bowlby's original work. Her groundbreaking "Strange Situation" study revealed the profound effects of attachment on behavior.
In the study, researchers observed children between the ages of 1. Based upon the responses the researchers observed, Ainsworth described three major styles of attachment: secure attachment, ambivalent- insecure attachment, and avoidant- insecure attachment. Later, researchers Main and Solomon (1.
A number of studies since that time have supported Ainsworth's attachment styles and have indicated that attachment styles also have an impact on behaviors later in life. Maternal Deprivation Studies.
Harry Harlow's infamous studies on maternal deprivation and social isolation during the 1. In a series of experiments, Harlow demonstrated how such bonds emerge and the powerful impact they have on behavior and functioning.
In one version of his experiment, newborn rhesus monkeys were separated from their birth mothers and reared by surrogate mothers. The infant monkeys were placed in cages with two wire monkey mothers. One of the wire monkeys held a bottle from which the infant monkey could obtain nourishment, while the other wire monkey was covered in a soft terry cloth. While the infant monkeys would go to the wire mother to obtain food, they spent most of their days with the soft cloth mother.
When frightened, the baby monkeys would turn to their cloth- covered mother for comfort and security. Harlow's work also demonstrated that early attachments were the result of receiving comfort and care from a caregiver rather than simply the result of being fed. The Stages of Attachment. Researchers Rudolph Schaffer and Peggy Emerson analyzed the number of attachment relationships that infants form in a longitudinal study with 6.
The infants were observed every four weeks during the first year of life, and then once again at 1. Based upon their observations, Schaffer and Emerson outlined four distinct phases of attachment. Pre- attachment Stage: From birth to three months, infants do not show any particular attachment to a specific caregiver.
The infant's signals such as crying and fussing naturally attract the attention of the caregiver and the baby's positive responses encourage the caregiver to remain close.
Great Ideas in Personality- -Attachment Theory.
Attachment Disorder Therapy - Center for Family Development. Understanding Attachment Disorders in Children. At least since Freud we have recognized that the infant- mother relationship is pivotal to the child's emerging personality.
Freud (1. 94. 0) said that for the baby, his mother is "unique, without parallel, laid down unalterably for a whole lifetime, as the first and strongest love object and as the prototype of all later love relations for both sexes." More recently, Greenspan (1. Schore (1. 99. 4), and Siegel (1. The attachment and care giving systems are at the heart of that crucial first relationship. John Bowlby (1. 96. Money Smart For Young Adults. At the heart of the attachment and care giving systems is the protection of a younger, weaker member of the species by a stronger one.
The infant's repertoire of attachment behaviors are matched by a reciprocal set of care giving behaviors in the mother. As the mother responds to the infant's bids for protection and security, a strong affectional bond develops between the two that forms the template for the baby's subsequent relationships. Attachment behaviors change as the child develops. A young baby who is tired, frightened, hungry, or lonely will show signaling and proximity seeking behaviors designed to bring his caregiver to him and keep her close. The baby may cry, reach out, or cling to his mother. Later when he is more mobile, he may actively approach her, follow her, or climb into her lap. A toddler may use his mother as a secure base, leaving her briefly to explore his world, and then reestablishing a sense of security by making contact with her by catching her eye, calling out to her and hearing her voice, or physically returning to her (Lieberman, 1.
By the time a child is four years old, she is typically less distressed by lack of proximity from her mother, particularly if they have negotiated or agreed upon a shared plan regarding the separation and reunion before the mother leaves (Marvin & Greenberg, 1. These older children have less need for physical proximity with their mothers, and are better able to maintain a sense of felt security by relying upon their mentalimage of their mothers and upon the comforting presence of friends and other adults. Bowlby (1. 96. 9/1. Ainsworth (1. 98.
Ainsworth (1. 98. First, an affectional bond is persistent, not transitory. Second, it involves a particular person who is not interchangeable with anyone else. Third, it involves a relationship that is emotionally significant. Fourth, an individual wishes to maintain proximity or contact with the person with whom he or she has an affectional tie.
Fifth, he feels sadness or distress at involuntary separation from the person. A true attachment bond, however, has an additional criteria: the person seeks security and comfort in the relationship. It is important to note that an infant does not have only one attachment relationship.
Bowlby (1. 96. 9/1. As the baby develops, however, he will form multiple attachment bonds and an even greater number of affectional bonds. And the need for attachment bonds does not end with infancy. Across the lifespan, we all experience times when we feel weak, ill, or vulnerable and turn to a loved person for support and comfort. This turning, we will see, is the echo of our infant attachments, and our expectations of what will happen when we turn to another are also built in infancy. Patterns of Attachment The quality of the child's attachment to his mother is determined by the way the mother responds to her child's bids for attention, help, and protection. As Ainsworth (1. 98.
If the seeker is successful, and a sense of security is attained, the attachment bond will be a secure one. If the seeker does not achieve a sense of security in the relationship, then the bond is insecure. Ainsworth and her colleagues (1. Strange Situation which involves two brief separations from mother in which the baby is left with a stranger.
The baby's behavior on reunion following these separations forms the basis for classifying her quality of attachment. Ainsworth (1. 97.
Babies described as securely attached actively seek out contact with their mothers. They may or may not protest when she leaves the laboratory, but when she returns they approach her and maintain contact. If distressed, they are more easily comforted by their mothers than by the stranger, demonstrating a clear preference for their mothers. They show very little tendency to resist contact with their mothers and may, on reunion, resist being released by her.
Babies who are classified as avoidant in the Strange Situation demonstrate a clear avoidance of contact with the mother. They may turn away from her or refuse eye contact with her.
They may ignore her when she returns after the separation. Some avoidant babies seem to prefer the stranger and appear to be more readily comforted by the stranger when they are distressed.