Attachment Theory

Topics: Attachment theory, John Bowlby, Maternal deprivation Pages: 3 (894 words) Published: March 23, 2014
Attachment Theory
The 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. Attachment is an emotional bond to another person. Psychologist John Bowlby (1969, 1988) was the first attachment theorist, describing attachment as a "lasting psychological connectedness between human beings." Bowlby believed that the earliest bonds formed by children with their caregivers have a tremendous impact that continues throughout life. He suggested attachment also serves to keep the infant close to the mother, thus improving the child's chances of survival. 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. He believed that mental health and behavioural problems could be attributed to early childhood. Bowlby’s evolutionary theory of attachment suggests that children come into the world biologically pre-programmed to form attachments with others, because this will help them to survive. Bowlby believed that attachment behaviours are instinctive and will be activated by any conditions that seem to threaten the achievement of proximity, such as separation, insecurity and fear. Bowlby also postulated that the fear of strangers represents an important survival mechanism, built in by nature.  Babies are born with the tendency to display certain innate behaviours (called social releasers) which help ensure proximity and contact with the mother or mother figure (e.g. crying, smiling, crawling, etc.) – these are species-specific behaviours. During the evolution of the human species, it would have been the babies who stayed close to their mothers who would have survived to have children of their own and Bowlby hypothesized...
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