Attachment theory is the combined work of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth (Ainsworth & Bowlby, 1991). John Bowlby formulated the basic principles of this theory to explain the emotional bond between infants and their caregivers (Fraley & Shaver, 2000). Bowlby explains that a motivational system, called the attachment behavioural system, I based on an evolutionary model which states that “genetic selection” preferred attachment behaviours, because they increased the likelihood of protection and provided survival gains, such as feeding, social interaction, and learning about the environment, while in close proximity to the attachment figure (Cassidy & Shaver, 2008). Further, Bowlby (1969) developed the idea of attachment to highlight the role
Overview of Attachment Theory Attachment theory tries to describe the evolution of personality and behaviour in relationships and it gives a reason for the difference in a person’s emotional and relationship attitudes. In the beginning, it looked at the mechanics of relationships between children and their parents but it has since been expanded to cover the entire life of the human being (Howe, 2000). Attachment theory includes insights learned from evolutionary theory, ethology, systems theory and developmental psychology (Howe, 2001).
Attachment is as an affection or fondness for someone or something. Attachment is “an affectionate bond between two individuals that endures through space and time and serves to join them emotionally”.(Butler.I, Hickman.C ,2011, pg 14) Attachment theory is the theory of how infant and caregiver bond from the works of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth (Ainsworth & Bowlby, 1991 ).They use the approachs from animal behaviour, how people communicate, how infants process information, how people change over their life , and the unconscious mind. 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)
The attachment theory specifies that an infants and young child requires consistent relationships with people to thrive and develop. Attachment is described as a essential need with a biological basis where infants or young children need to maintain a sense of security with a specific person. Developing a secure attachment between the infant and their parents or guardian is an important part of early childhood development, due to the many things that can interfere with the development of a healthy attachment. Without a secure attachment, an infant may develop problems that can continue throughout their lives and affect the relationships with others.
Attachment plays a crucial role in the development of young children, and the social skills of children as they grow into adulthood. Looking at attachment from a low socioeconomic stand point reveled many interesting trends within individual’s attachment styles.
Social relationship is very important to individuals. It can affect individual’s working efficiency, corporation and even the personality. In this essay, three types of caring attachment will be introduced. Also, the influence from each attachment among the caregivers in baby’s childhood and adulthood will be discussed.
From the moment a child is born, he or she has basic needs for comfort and affection that should be met. Children that are not properly nurtured early in life do not form quality attachments with adults and learn that they cannot be trusted to meet the child’s needs. Reactive attachment disorder can develop when the child does not form loving, secure, and stable attachments with others, caused by inadequate or inconsistent care, maternal depression or separation, abuse, or neglect, among other things. As the child ages, this can lead to a myriad of difficulties, some examples being issues regulating emotions and behavior, a lack of cause and effect thinking, a desire to be in control, poor peer relationships, lying, and a destructive, impulsive, and manipulative nature. It is believed that children with reactive attachment disorder have the ability to form secure attachments, but this capacity has been compromised by their experiences early in life.
According to Sophie Bloom, M.S.L.Ac, by voicing their concerns and their attitudes towards things in the world, parents greatly influence their child and their child’s development. Therefore having a present and positive parental figure while growing up is extremely important for a child or a creature's development. The lack of affection and/or abandonment of a child can also cause severe consequences later in the child's life. According to Judith E. Carroll, Tara L. Gruenewald , Shelley E. Taylor, Denise Janicki-Deverts , Karen A. Matthews, and Teresa E. Seeman “The most toxic childhood stressors are those that occur in the absence of emotional support from a caregiver.” The lack of a parental figure and the absence of emotional support can greatly affect a child's life it can be considered one of the most harmful occurrences in a child's life.
Theories (Erikson & Attachment) According to Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development, trust vs. mistrust, occurs in the first year of life. Erikson believed that the caregiver’s response to the infant’s cries help them develop a sense of trust, when the caregiver responds right away to the infant’s distress of crying or fussing (Mooney, 2000). Erikson believed that in the earliest years of life, mainly during infancy, patterns of trust or mistrust are formed that control, or at least influence, a person’s actions or interactions for the rest of life (Erikson, 1950). Bowlby hypothesized that children are born with a predisposition to be attached to caregivers and that children will organize their behavior and thinking in order to maintain those relationships (Bettmann, 2006).
The research on Lifespan Development is ever growing. Nonetheless, it is evident that, whilst development does occur throughout the life, one’s early life experiences are what is most integral to this process. The following essay will display this through a psychodynamic lens of attachment theory. Firstly, an introduction to the lifespan approach as well as attachment theory will be delved into. Subsequently, looking at both strengths and limitations, attachment studies will be used to oppose aspects of the lifespan approach as well as display prominence on early life. Lastly, the applications of such theory will be analysed within the South African context.
Introduction. Children are biologically designed to form a secure attachment. Smyke and Potter (2011) describe a secure attachment as when a child feels accepted and valued by their caregiver, which is a process of the caregiver providing life-long comfort, support and protection for the child. When a child experiences maltreatment and social isolation from a caregiver the child develops a sense of danger which causes an "overwhelming sense of helpless, horror and terror" (Smyke and Potter, 2011). Examples of maltreatment may include a child living in institutional care or frequent placements while in the care of child and family services or when a child is left with random caregivers or the child is brought to a drug house by the parent who
Attachment in early life is a fundamental aspect of child development and the establishment of intimate and reciprocal relationships with caregivers. Shaffer & Kipp (2007) define attachment as ‘a close emotional relationship between two persons, characterized by mutual affection and a desire to maintain proximity’. Contrary to the original view of infant attachment as a ‘secondary drive’ of the dependency on caregivers for physiological needs, such as hunger; Bowlby (1969, 1973) proposed that all infants are born with an innate bias to form an attachment to a primary attachment figure to whom they can seek comfort, or a ‘secure base’ during stressful circumstances. It is proposed by Ainsworth (1967) that parental sensitivity is crucial to shaping the security and development of the initial infant-parent attachment relationship, however the phenomenon of attachment requires both infants and caregivers to contribute in the formation of the attachment bond. Ultimately, the quality of attachment in early life shapes both the social and emotional
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).
One of the most important factors that affect a child 's development is the relationship and attachment of the child with their primary caregiver. John Bowlby studied the development of the child; he was interested in how childhood relationships affected kids as they grew older and became adults. He was also concerned with the relationship of the child and primary caregiver and how they interacted, and the effect this had on later life. Bowlby 's theory established that children’s earliest relationships shaped their later development and characterized their human life, "from the cradle to the grave"(Bowlby, 1998). The attachment style that an infant develops with their parent later reflects on their overall person. Bowlby 's attachment theory had vast investigation done by Mary Ainsworth, who studied the interactions between mother and child, specifically, the theme of an infant’s investigation of their surroundings and the separation from their mother. This essay will focus on Bowlby’s attachment theory and Mary Ainsworth’s experiments and findings, discussing their views on the development and importance of attachment in early life.