Generically Ainsworth classification of attachment styles described infant-caregiver relationships as either secure or insecure; insecure attachment can be further subdivided into either an avoidant/resistant patterns depending on the particular pattern of behaviour displayed by the infant. For individual attachment patterns there is a corresponding caregiving style. The secure type is when an infant seeks protection or comfort from their mother and receives care consistently. The mother is usually found to be loving and affectionate, educating a child to cope with problems in the future. In contrast, punitive rejection and being unavailable is associated with insecure anxious-avoidant attachment.
These working models are created patterns of attachment, usually formed during childhood development, that affect relational attachments in adulthood. These models represent feelings about oneself and others, which contribute to their behavior in their relationships with others. A person’s internal models are usually subconscious, but can change with a cumulative experience, either positive or
Through factors such as cognitive development of the infant, attentive care and intimate interactions with a primary caregiver, the attachment relationship is created – shaping the infants- caregiver bond. By examining the interactions between an infant and their primary caregiver, we can identify secure, insecure and disorganized attachment (Ainsworth, 1978; Cassidy 1994); which can reveal a great deal about the relationship between the infant and attachment figure. Overall, the quality of attachment bonds formed in the early years can have long lasting effects on an infant’s emotional security and social competence; not only shaping their ability to form relationships, but laying the foundations for the social, emotional and mental development of the
Attachment is “not synonymous with love or affection; it is not an overall descriptor of the relationship between the parent and child which includes other parent–child interactions such as feeding, stimulation, play or problem solving” (Prior, 2006, pg 15) Attachment theory is based on a emotional and physical attachment that is important to the personal development of a child. The attachment is shown by some behaviors in infants, such as needing closeness with the attachment figure when upset or threatened, the infant uses the figure as secure base that the child can use when in need of security and comfort (Bowlby, 1969). Any caregiver is the attachment figure who provides most care for the infant and is their primary social communication. This can be biological parents or anyone who the infant feels the attachment with.
Thus, suggesting that caregiver relationships are crucial to children’s psychological and physical survival. As infants are unable to verbalize their thoughts, crying is used as a means of communication and interaction between the infant and caregiver. Caring for an Infant
Attachment theory suggests it is the quality of the relationship between the child and caregiver, which ultimately influences development (Sroufe & Seigel, 2011). Ideally, the child and caregiver should express attunement to one another (Sroufe & Seigel, 2011). Ainsworth’s Strange Situation experiment differentiated the securely attached child from the insecure child through the child’s reaction to the return of her caregiver after periods of separation (Sroufe & Seigel, 2011). The securely attached child “actively greet(s) and initiate(s) interaction with the caregiver upon reunion” (Sroufe & Seigel, 2011, p. 4). The securely attached child develops a positive “internal working model” (Schore & Schore, 2008, p. 12), influencing self-efficacy.
In addition, Mary Ainsworth created the idea of the theory maternal sensitivity to an infant’s indications and it’s role in the development of infant to mother attachment displays. John Bowlby believed that mental health and behavioural problems could be attached to early childhood and that children were already biologically programmed to be able to form an attachment with people, when they are born into this world.
Attachment is an emotional bond between an infant and their primary caregiver (usually the mother). The interactions between the caregiver and the infant are seen as important parts which help their relationship to develop and to maintain the attachment, (Psychology Today, 2017). This emotional bond is a strong feeling that a person (infant) have for another person (caregiver) and it could be vital for a child`s normal behaviour and social development. John Bowlby studied and expanded the concept of attachment and came to the conclusion that attachment represents in the early years of life, a behavioural system which its goal is to maintain the closeness of primary caregiver with the infant. He argues that emotional connections between a child
His theory is based on the innate relationship that customarily grows between a mother and her newborn. He believed the quality of the time the caregiver commits to the infant and the more sensitive they are to the child’s needs the better a child’s positive expectations of self and others will evolve. This, in turn, will lead the child to have a healthier emotional, mental, and social development
Bretherton stated in his article “the origins of attachment theory” “To grow up mentally healthy the infant and young child should experience a warm intimate and continuous relationship with his mother (or permanent mother
How was this attachment style born? Bowlby identified a clear and predictable sequence of three emotional reactions that typically occur subsequent to the separation of an infant from its primary caregiver as explained by Levy & Blatt (1999). First emotional reaction he identified is protest that involves crying, active searching, and resistance to others soothing efforts. Followed by despair and then detachment (Levy & Blatt 1999).
Humans are interesting beings with amazing mental capabilities and complex social structures. Throughout our evolution we have relied heavily on our ability to communicate, our ingenuity flourishing through working together to achieve a common goal, finding strength in numbers through bonding - forming attachments with those around us. From an ethological perspective these attachments function biologically to ensure survival. As infants, we have an innate desire to seek proximity with caregivers in order to ensure our wellbeing. We come equipped with the ability to communicate distress through crying and socially interact through smiling, gazing, and various nondescript vocalizations.
Both Robert Karen’s Becoming Attached and Robert LeVine and Karin Norman’s The Infant 's Acquisition of Culture: Early Attachment Re-Examined in Anthropological Perspective delve into the complicated relation between toddlers and their caregivers, and just how uncertain it is whether or not a certain form attachment is truly the best for children. Toddlerhood is centered on the sudden recognition of autonomy as well as exploring their world with the help of their caregiver. Thus this goes into the idea of attachment, and the various forms that come along with it. Robert Karen explores these attachment relationships using the results of experiments such as the Strange Situation done by Mary Ainsworth and Harry Harlow’s research with monkeys.
These therapy treatments aim and encourage caregivers to provide a consistent and stable attachment with the child while providing a positive and stimulating interactive