Parental Attachment Model

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Parents play a range of different roles in the lives of their children, including teacher, playmate, disciplinarian, caregiver and attachment figures. Of all these roles, their role as an attachment figure is one of the most important in predicting the child’s later social and emotional outcome (Benoit, 2004). Bowlby (1988) first proposed that people develop an internal working model of the self and of significant others, which are formed based on one’s early experiences of caregiver ability. Once formed, these models are believed to guide distinctive patterns of cognition, regulation of emotions, and social behaviour in parental as well as in subsequent close relationships and thus influence adult interpersonal functioning (Collins, 1996; …show more content…

In situations where the parental figures are represented as caring, affectionate, approachable, trustworthy, and non-invasive, the individual is to have taken on a secure parental attachment model. The strategy is said to be ‘organised’ because the child ‘knows’ exactly what to do with a sensitively responsive caregiver, ie, approach the caregiver when distressed. These individuals thereby are inclined to adopt a similarly trusting, open and collaborative point of reference toward later interpersonal relationships; a secure adult attachment type. In contrast to this theory, when parental figures are represented as untrustworthy, neglectful, rejecting, individuals are assumed to have formed an insecure parental attachment and are thereby inclined to favour the construction of an insecure adult attachment that can be connected to problematic interpersonal functioning throughout …show more content…

Based on this concept of attachment theory, the evidence shows that insensitive, unresponsive, and rejecting parental behaviours promote an insecure parent–child attachment, which may lead to the perception of other individuals as unreliable and hostile (Michiels, Grietens, Onghena, & Kuppens, 2008). These perceptions may provoke aggressive and norm-breaking behaviour within social relationships (Michiels et al., 2008) and can be categorised as externalising behaviours. Externalising problem behaviours and personality traits are defined as under-controlled behaviours that manifest as aggression, disruptiveness, defiance, hyperactivity, and impulsivity (Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1978). Different forms of externalising behaviour problems are interconnected dependent on situation or context. For example, a meta-analysis by Card, Stucky, Sawalani, and Little (2008) found a significant correlation between direct (physical) and indirect (relational) aggression, and a medium to large correlation of both forms of aggression with delinquency. Externalising behavioural traits are the most common and persistent form of childhood dysfunction with long-term negative psychosocial outcomes, such as an increased risk for psychiatric disorders and antisocial behaviour (Campbell, Shaw, &

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