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)
This test observed patterns in the infants’ experiences of separation and reunion with their mother, and their reaction to a stranger, in order to evaluate the type of attachment relationship the infant shared with their mother (Ainsworth, 1978). Ainsworth found a significant consistency between the mothers’ interactive styles and the reactions of the infants. The results of this test led Ainsworth to classify the behaviours into three main categories. She identified the infants to have secure attachment, or one of two forms of insecure attachment, avoidant or ambivalent (Music,
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).
Sigmund Freud (1982) also known as the “Father of Psychoanalysis” claimed that the mother-child connection is an unconscious bond between the infant and the primary caregiver which becomes the dominant force for a pattern of behaviors throughout the infant’s entire lifespan. However, John Bowlby, a British psychologist, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst developed Freud’s claim further and introduced the attachment theory. According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health “Attachment is one specific aspect of the relationship between a child and a parent with its purpose being to make a child safe, secure and protected. Attachment is distinguished from other aspects of parenting, such as disciplining, entertaining and
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. Approach behavior may be defined as locomotion in which a usual outcome of the distance between one person and one other specific person is observed to distinguish the distance between each individual and the attachment to one another.
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
Secured attachment is extremely important in the developmental stages of an infant. Secure attachment is when an infant feels distressed when they are separated from their caregivers and feels happy when their caregiver returns. Research from this article suggests that, when an infant does not receive the comfort they need from their caregiver for secure attachments, it can have a negative impact on their behaviour later on in their childhood and throughout life. Infants who have secured attachments tend to develop stronger self-esteem as they grow older, they also tend to be more independent and successful in socialising. Those children are also less likely to experience less depression and anxiety.
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).
Research of over the course 30 years showed that infants are far more competent, social, and responsive and are able to make sense of their environment. Infants are no longer regarded as passive and do not only respond to stimuli (Fantz, 1963). The theory of attachment that was first proposed by John Bowlby (1970) described it as a ‘lasting psychological connectedness between human beings’. He notion that children as young as infant need to develop a secure attachment with their main caregiver. Bowlby’s attachment theories are both psychopathology and normal socio-emotional development.
The secure babies used their mothers as a base to explore and as a protective safe haven. They were upset when the caregivers left but when they returned, they brought safety to the baby. Babies who had an avoidant attachment, didn’t want their caregiver upon return to the room. The caregivers for these babies may have been unresponsive to their signals of distress. Some babies were also classified as having resistant attachments, and tried kicking or arching their backs when comforted by the caregiver.
Differences occur in the degree to which infant-mother relationships are characterized by experiences of security (Levy & Blatt 1999). Some mothers are slow in response to their infant cries. The infants of these mothers cry more often and explore less than securely attachment infants (Levy & Blatt 1999). Many infants eventually try to avoid mothers who previously had frequently rejected them or turn deaf hears to their cry. This establishes the avoidant attachment in kids (Levy & Blatt 1999).
In the normal development of every individual, the need to form secure attachments with their parents is present. Developmental theorists have even categorized attachment as a basic need of every human being, (Shaffer & Kipp, 2010). Secure attachments take place when the physical and emotional needs of the child are constantly provided, particularly during the first two years of life. Healthy attachments will make children internalize their parents as figures of trust; this in turn will make them perceive their parents with an image of security, stability, and dependence. Healthy parent-child attachment is necessary to allow the child to develop interdependence and learn to engage in reciprocally pleasurable interactions.
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.
The Potential Buffering Role of Secure Attachments to Caregivers. Early Child Res Q. 27(1):156-165. *Tucker-Drob EM and Harden KP. 2013. Gene-by-preschool interaction on the development of early externalizing problems. J Child Psychol Psychiatry.”
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.