From the Strange Situation, Ainsworth et al developed three attachment styles based on the behaviour of the infant, demonstrating considerable individual differences in secure and insecure attachments. They found that most infants displayed behaviour which categorised them as secure (70%) whilst 15% were categorised as anxious-avoidant and 15% as anxious-ambivalent.
Those who were securely attached (Type B) happily played when the caregiver was present, as he/she was sensitive to the infant's needs and interpreted the infant's signals correctly. The infant showed signs of distress when separated from the caregiver and contact was immediately sought on reunion, play was then resumed quickly. The stranger was able to provide a degree of comfort however was treated noticeably differently from the caregiver. Securely attached infants have a high level of trust with their caregivers and do not fear abandonment. The caregiver is accepting of the infant and shows positive emotions during interactions, adapting his/her behaviour to the personality and needs of the infant.
Anxious/avoidant attachment (Type A) was characterised by detachment as the infant did not seek contact with the caregiver and showed little distress at separation. The infant tends to ignore the caregiver and her presence has little effect on their play. The infant shows very little, if any distress when she leaves. Any distress shown is due to being alone, rather than specifically, separation from the caregiver. The infant can be comforted by both the caregiver and the stranger, the infant shows little preference. The caregiver is distant and aloof, tending to ignore or misinterpret the infant's signals. Infants with an ambivalent attachment, according to Ainsworth, learn to suppress their desire for closeness and they know their attempts will be rejected.
The anxious/ambivalent attachment (type C) was characterised by inconsistency, as the shows a lot of distress at separation but resistant towards the caregiver and showing anger on reunion. There is very much a push-pull element to this attachment as the infant may seek contact then struggle to be put down. Detached infants could not use the caregiver...