Evaluation of Bowlby’s Attachment Theory

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  • Topic: Attachment theory, Attachment parenting, John Bowlby
  • Pages : 3 (836 words )
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  • Published : December 5, 2012
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Evaluation of Bowlby’s attachment theory

Bowlby’s theory of attachment has several studies to support it. A study on imprinting in non-human animals were undertaken by Lorenz (1952) supports Bowlby’s view that imprinting is innate. The study showed that goslings imprinted upon the first moving object they saw, regardless of what it was, backing up the idea that attachment is adaptive and innate and not a process that has to be learned. However while this study does support Bowlby’s view, it must be taken in to consideration that it cannot necessarily be generalized to a human child, meaning it lacks external validity, and more specifically, population validity. The use of animals within much of the research supporting the attachment theory is also one of its main limitations.

The sensitive period section of the theory also has evidence to support it. Hodges and Tizard (1989) studied a group of 65 British children, who had lived in an institution since being four months old, up to the age of 16. They learned that the caretakers within the institution had been instructed not to form attachments with the children. Their findings of an early study showed that 70% of the children were described as not able to deeply care about anyone, and that later in life, many of these children showed signs of privation, or the lack of any attachments due to not developing them in the sensitive period. This research provides evidence to the fact that once the sensitive period has passed, it is far more difficult to form attachments, supporting Bowlby’s claims.

A study conducted by Tronick et al (1992) provided evidence of the universality of the attachment theory. Tronick studied the Efe, an African tribe from Zaire. The infants within the tribe were frequently looked after and breastfed by women other than their mothers, but usually slept with their own at night. Even though these practices differ significantly to those of other cultures, after six months it was...
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