Applying Theory

Topics: Attachment theory, John Bowlby, Developmental psychology Pages: 6 (1688 words) Published: October 28, 2009

Applying Theory
Dinah M. Creamer
University of Washington-Tacoma
Human Behavior and the Social Environment
TSOCW402-Theodora A. Drescher
November 24, 2008

This paper will focus on problems commonly linked to adolescents and their formation of relationships by applying attachment theory. INTRODUCTION
PART ONE: Development milestones and tasks in adolescents (ages 13 to 18 years) • Attachment experiences
• Trust
• Parental influences
PART TWO: Adolescent Problems Regarding Attachment
• Attachment disorders
PART THREE: Application of Attachment Theory
• Attachment theory explanation of issue occurrence at adolescent stage CONCLUSION

Adolescence is a phase that human beings go through before reaching adulthood. At this point of your life, you go through exciting and dramatic physical and mental changes. I remember this period vividly. Adolescents often ask themselves questions about whether or not other kids will like them in school, will they be accepted for what they are, what is happening to their bodies and why do they feel the way they do. This research paper will apply attachment theory specifically to adolescents from ages 13 to 18 years of age. I will discuss developmental milestones and tasks, problems that arise in adolescence regarding attachment and explain how attachment impacts the development of the adolescents.

Part One: Developmental milestones and tasks in adolescents (ages 13 to 18 years) Milestones and Tasks
Developmental milestones are important tasks that most children learn or acquire that are essential for adult functioning. These milestones are critical as they attribute to their social, mental, physical and cognitive characteristics and help them for their identities. Adolescent milestones include significant physical changes. Males and females both experience a growth spurt, and start showing signs of sexual maturity. They are likely to show formal operational reasoning, while their cognitive development becomes more complex by learning how to make important decisions and learning how their environment influences them.

Adolescents are most likely to be searching for an identity. They start to gain perspective on who they are, how they function and what they would most likely do with their lives in the future. Their self esteem tends to rise, they engage in more social activities and their emotional stability starts taking precedence. Many social activities in the adolescents lives are being lead by the type of peers they choose to associate with that most closely identify with themselves.

Robert Havighurst, a developmental theorist, believed that personality develops through a series of stages with appropriate developmental tasks to be learned at each stage. “The developmental tasks for adolescents are: • Accepting one’s body and using it effectively • Achieving new and more mature relationships with age mates of both sexes • Achieving emotional independence from parents and other adults • Preparing for an occupation and economic career • Preparing for marriage and family life

• Desiring and achieving socially responsible behavior • Acquiring a set of values as a guide to behavior. (McNair, n.d., ¶ 10)

Attachment Experiences
According to Lesser and Pope (2007), attachment relationship is the relationship between a child and the child’s attachment figures that forms the basis for the views that the child develops of him or herself. “Cognitive development during adolescence affects the development of attachment. The capacity for formal operational thinking characteristic of this period allows the teenager to construct from experiences with parents and other caregivers such as extended family member. Views of oneself in attachment relationships now become...

References: Lesser, J. G., & Pope, D. S. (2007). Adolescence. In Human Behavior and the Social Environment (pp. 281-289, 448). Boston: Pearson Education.
Linda Zimmerman (2000). Understanding and Treating Attachment Disorder. Retrieved November 1, 2008, from
McNair, J. (n.d.). The developmental tasks of adolescence. Retrieved November 1, 2008, from
Meeus, W., Oosterwegel, A., & Vollebergh, W. (2002). Relations and Identity in Adolescence. Journal of Adolescence, 25, 93-106. Retrieved November 1, 2008. Retrieved from
New York Attachment Center (n.d.). What is attachment disorder?. Retrieved November 1, 2008, from
Saisan, J., Kemp, G., Jaffe, J., Segal, J., & Hutman, S. (n.d.). Parenting and Reactive Attachment Disorder. Retrieved November 1, 2008, from
Werner-Wilson, R. J. (2001). Attachment in Adolescence: An Agenda for Research and intervention. Retrieved November 1, 2008, from
Win your adolescents trust. (January 29, 2007). Retrieved November 1, 2008, from Wikihow:
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