Outline and Evaluate One or More Explanations of Attachment

Topics: Attachment theory, Mary Ainsworth, John Bowlby Pages: 3 (909 words) Published: April 7, 2011
Psychologists have put forward different explanations of attachment, such as learning theory and Bowlby’s theory.

Outline and evaluate one or more explanations of attachment

One explanation of attachment is Bowlby’s theory who described attachment as "lasting psychological connectedness between human beings" Bowlby believed that the earliest bonds formed by children with their caregivers have a tremendous impact that continues throughout life. According to Bowlby, attachment also serves to keep the infant close to the mother, thus improving the child's chances of survival. The main theme of attachment theory is that mothers who are available and responsive to their infant's needs establish a sense of security. The infant knows that the caregiver is dependable, which creates a secure base for the child to then explore the world.

There are four characteristics of attachment which are; Safe Haven-When the child feel threatened or afraid, he or she can return to the caregiver for comfort and soothing. Secure base-The caregiver provides a secure and dependable base for the child to explore the world. Proximity maintenance-The child strives to stay near the caregiver, thus keeping the child safe. And separation distress-When separated from the caregiver, the child will become upset and distressed.

In the 1970’s Mary Ainsworth carried out a groundbreaking study which was “the Strange Situation Study” which showed the profound effects of attachment on behaviour. In her study she got researchers to observe children between the ages of 12 and 18 months in a situation where they were briefly left alone and then reunited with there mothers. In this study there were eight steps, step one, the mother and child are introduced to the room. Step two, mother and child are left alone and the child can investigate the toys. Step three, A stranger enters the room and talks with the mother, the stranger gradually approaches the infant with a toy. Step four, mother leaves...
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