Attachment Theory

Topics: Attachment theory, John Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth Pages: 4 (1550 words) Published: May 1, 2013
Attachment Theory
John Bowlby was a psychoanalyst and has developed his knowledge and understanding into the theory of Attachment. Bowlby believed that children have been born programmed to form attachments which will help them survive; this is known as evolutionary attachments. Bowlby believed that all attachments are instinctive, he said that attachments are shown when the child is under conditions of feeling threatened, such as: separation, fear and insecurity. In 1969 and 1988 Bowlby suggested that fear of strangers was an important survival mechanism; he said that babies display natural behaviours, such as: crying, laughing, smiling and crawling, this ensures the baby to feel in close contact with the mother. Attachment is an emotional bond between two people and takes time to connect. Attachment doesn’t have to be a mutual feeling as an individual can feel attached, but the recipient may not feel the same. Attachment is displayed with different behaviours, usually shown when feeling upset and threatened. The theory of attachment has been considered to enhance children’s chances of survival. Shaffer and Emmerson have also expanded on Bowlby’s theory breaking down the theory into stages. The stages are ‘Indiscriminate attachment, preference for certain people, special preference for a single attachment figure, multiple attachments.’ Indiscriminate attachment occurs to babies up to 3 months, the baby equally responds to any caregiver and is inclined to attach to any human. The stage of ‘preference for certain people’ usually occurs after 4 months as they learn to distinguish their prime carers to their secondary carers. At 7 months ‘Special preference for a single attachment figure’ begins to occur, which is where the baby seeks for particular people. At this stage the baby shows unhappiness when separated from a carer. The stage of ‘Multiple attachments’ the baby is able to form multiple attachments with people. These stages where identified from a study...
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