Attachment Theory

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Can early insecure attachment doom the child to psychopathology in later life?

Shaffer, (1993) defines attachment as a “close emotional relationship between two people two persons, characterised by mutual affection and desire to maintain proximity”. According to Browby, (1969) attachment behaviours are formed in infancy and help shape the attachment relationships people have as adults. Psychopathology’ refers to study of mental illness or mental health distress or the manifestation of behaviours and experiences that may be indicative of mental illness or psychological impairment (Allen, 1999). This essay will analyse how early insecure attachment doom the child to psychopathology in later life. The evaluation will show how attachment insecurity is a major contributor to mental disorders, and an amelioration of psychopathology. The critics of attachment will be analysed followed by a concise conclusion

According to Bowlby, (1969) attachment begins in infancy and lasts throughout a lifetime. A newborn baby immediately needs someone to take care of and Takahashi, (1999) both believed that this primary caregiver usually the mother, is the one that will most shape the child's personality and character within minutes of giving birth. It is important for the new parents and baby to be alone together right after the birth to establish an attachment bond. Elliot, (2003) assets that if there are too many individuals in the room right after birth, the natural process of attachment can be disrupted and this can have long-term effects on the relationship between the child and parents. Fathers, according Fraley, (2003) are expected also to establish a bond after the child is born. Researches reveal that fathers who have early contact with their child have a stronger bond with them in the months following the birth. Takahashi, (1999) commends that strong attachment between father and child is shown through physical contact. Fathers have a more physical relationship with the child while the mother's relationship is more verbal Takahashi, (1999). When the mother-infant interactions are observed, the mother is seen as nurturing and affectionate towards the infant, whereas father-infant interactions deal more with affiliation and play (Geiger, 1996). It has been shown that the fathers play interactions are more exciting and pleasurable to children than play interactions with the mother (Geiger, 1996). Research reveals that parent-child bonds are most important in forming the child's personality (Allen, 1999). Insecure attachment doom the child to psychopathology in later life Bowlby, (1969) assets that human beings are born with an innate psychobiological system that motivates them to seek proximity to significant others in times of need. Bowlby, (1969) asserts that interactions with attachment figures promote a stable sense of attachment security and build positive mental representations of self and others. When a person’s attachment figures is not reliably available and supportive, proximity seeking fails to relieve distress, felt security is undermined, negative models of self and others are formed, and the likelihood of later emotional problems and maladjustment increases (Harris, 1998)..

Problems in emotional regulation, like relationship disturbances, are pervasive markers of psychopathology and such problems underlie most disorders of children and adults (Cole, 1994). Indeed, "emotional disturbance" often is used as a synonym for psychopathology. Emotional regulation is the defining feature of all close relationships and the central goal of early primary relationships (Sroufe, 1997).

Anxious attachments do not cause later disorders; rather they initiate pathways for psychopathology. Psychopathology always is the result of the combination of risk and protective factors impacting on the individual's life over time (Schofield, 1999). Individual disturbance, in this view, begins as relationships are hypothesized to be the...
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