Social Attachment Theory

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The role of self-identity for an individual is the acknowledgement of their characteristics that make them who they are (Oxford University Press, 2015). This essay will look at whether developmental or social influences have a greater effect on self-identity, including some key theories. In terms of development, Bowlby introduced the Attachment theory in 1969 with the help of Ainsworth in 1973 looking at attachment styles in children, which later on went to explain the effect of attachment on self-identity. In terms of social influences, the Social Identity Theory developed by Tajifel and Turner in 1979 explains self-identity in terms of groups we are involved in and how that can affect self-identity.

Developmentally, self-identity can be described by self-awareness: Public self which is the way individuals believe others see them and private self, the way individuals are aware of their own characteristics (Cherry, 2016). Rochat and Striano (2002) found that by 4 months children are in fact self-aware and can tell themselves (on a video) from someone else copying their actions. By 5 months they can tell their own voice and face from others when
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SIT has been used in the understanding of important research such as into ethnocentrism and it has a lot of great research to back it up. SIT is a lot less artificial than the Theory of Attachment (McLoed, 2008) and has a wide range of research to cover it such as Ciadini and Borden (1976) who looked at sporting teams within schools. Ainsworth’s research on attachment was very westernised and lacked cross-cultural variations, and was later found to not correlate with the attachment styles she had found so the four category model on self-identity is not reliable. (Van Ijzendoorn & Kroonenburg,1988). Overall, from a psychological perspective social influences have a greater effect upon

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