Attachment Theory Examination Development And Application Psychology Essay

This paper focuses on the idea of attachment theory. We start with an research of what it is and its development and the founders and important people who have applied and developed it. We then present its applications in the modern psychology.

Attachment can be defined as the emotional bond that connects one person with another. This theory was initially advanced by psychologist John Dish by and he explained it as a "lasting emotional connectedness between human beings" (Bowlby, 1969). He believed that the original relationship that is made by children with their mother or father or caregivers have very important impact after their entire lives. Corresponding to him, the connection is very fundamental in ensuring that the child's chances of survival are improved.

The main theme in the idea of connection revolves around the notion that mothers who are responsive and open to the needs of the children usually establish some sense of security. The infant are therefore ware to the fact that such a bond with a trustworthy parent or caregiver is important for their security and safety. This gives them a well secured program to explore the world at large.

The main characteristics of attachment

Secure base

This is when the caregiver or parent provides a reliable and secure platform for the child to explore the world.

Safe haven

This is exhibited when the kid feels worried and threatened. They are doing therefore turn back with their caregiver to get comfort

Maintenance of proximity

This is exhibited when the child makes initiatives to be as near the caregiver or father or mother whenever you can to keep themselves safe.

Distress of separation

The Ainsworth's theory of "Strange Situation"

Mary Ainsworth, a psychologist in 1970's carried out research that expounded greatly on the work of Bowlby's. Her famous theory of "Strange Situation" uncovered that there surely is a notable ramifications of connection on the human being behavior. The analysis which she conducted entailed an observation of children aged between 12 and 1. 5 years who have been being watched as they taken care of immediately various situations where they were left alone for a brief period of energy. The infants were then reunited with the mothers as pointed out by (Ainsworth, 1978).

On the foundation of the observed responses, Ainsworth came up with three main varieties of attachment which were

Secure attachment

Ambivalent-insecure attachment

Avoidant-insecure attachment

However, down the road, the work of Main and Solomon (1986) noticed the addition of a supplementary style of attachment referred to as disorganized-insecure attachment. Other studies show that the many attachment styles have a serious effect on the behavior of humans in their later lives.

Detailed characteristics of attachments

Secure attachment

Children who are securely attached do display a lot of stress when they get segregated using their caregivers. They are doing however become happy on the come back with their caregiver. It is worth pointing out the fact that these children do feel secure and are able to depend entirely on their parents ar caregivers. Whenever the caregiver or mother or father leaves, they could feel upset but with the data and anticipation that their caregiver would soon come back.

In case they get frightened by anything, these securely attached children would seek the comfort and security of their caregivers. They know their parents and caregivers and their capability to supply them with guarantee and comfort.

Ambivalent attachment

The ambivalently attached children normally do become distressed whenever their caregivers leave them. This form of connection is usually uncommon and is also therefore observable in only a small ratio of American children. It's been shown through research that ambivalent children are something of poor maternal availability. These children however, cannot count on the parents' availability for his or her needs to be found.

Avoidant attachment

This form of connection is characterized with children who try no matter what to avoid their parents or principal caregivers. In the event they get offered the opportunity, they would show no form of inclination between their caregivers and new individuals who are considered total strangers. Research work has mentioned that this form of attachment comes about consequently of your neglectful or abusive caregiver. This therefore means that children who get penalized or punished fpor their reliance on the caregivers would soon figure out how to avoid seeking their assist in the near future.

The problems with attachment

There are a myriad of problems that affects accessories. The questions that a lot of people may ask are what goes on to infant who do not form some type of secure connection. Extant literature suggests that in case there's a failure to be part of a secure connection during infancy, then there will be negative effect on the behavior of the influenced individual. This is notable in the early youth as well as during adulthood.

The children who are diagnosed with oppositional-defiant disorder (ODD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or carry out disorder (Compact disc) usually show indications of attachment related problems. That is possibly consequently of

Early abuse

Neglect and


It has been advised by clinicians that early on attachments do have very serious effects on the near future relationships. For instance, folks who are securely attached throughout their childhood do tend to have positive characteristics such as

Good home esteem

Strong intimate relationships

Ability to reveal oneself to other people.

It has been suggested by several theorists that the connection theory is a particular kind of emotional theory that provides a information as well as explanation to be utilized as a theoretical platform necessary for talking about the various types of affectionate human relationships that do exist between individuals.

This theory which got its origins from John Bowlby in 1969 has continued to be important as a rational framework to be used in the explanation of interpersonal associations as pointed out by (Hazan, & Shaver, 1987).

Bowlby's theory was closely influenced by the work of Harry Harlow. Harlow is the main one who made a breakthrough that toddler monkeys that acquired separated from their caregivers (moms) finished up clinging to objects which were as fluffy as their moms instead of the wire-coated food sispensers. This was a strong sign that the newborns had a solid need to be nurtured as poited out by Harlow & Suomi (1970). It was the notion of Bowlby that the connection style of an individual is developed in their child years and gets heavy influence by the infant's romantic relationship with the principal caregiver. His other belief was an individual' design of attachment is durable and has a strong influence on the way the person would relate with others through our their life time (Bowlby, 1969). There are however some theorist who challenge this notion.

Secure connection style

This is the 1st attachment style. People who are securely fastened have suprisingly low self esteem in conjunction with low avoidance. They however have positive attitudes towards themselves and towards all of those other people. In order to promote secure attachment in children, it is important for the primary caregivers to be trustworthy, supportive and offer a safe haven as described by Bartholomew & Horowitz (1991).

Ainsworth's bizarre situation study unveiled that securely attached children are characterized by several habits such as protestation of the caregiver's departure whilst having the capability to get started being in happy spirits only to welcome the departed caregiver and be reassured once more of the comfort as reported by Tracy & Ainsworth (1981).

There are other benefits that come with being securely fastened. These include the ability to form very close and seductive relationships with hardly any ease while being more comfortable with the autonomy. Secure people usually feel just like they are worthless and have targets that other folks will be acknowledging while being responsive at the same time as reported by (Hazan & Shaver, 1987).

The diminishing connection style

This form of attachment is seen as a individuals who have low panic coupled with a fairly high avoidance. Therefore, they certainly have a good attitude towards their life. They however do have a higher avoidance of others. This form of connection is observable in children which is made whenever an infant's bid to gain comfort are rejected and their key good care givers are hesitant and generally reluctant to permit body contact between them. This makes them to pick up their young ones in very abrupt manner. Addititionally there is an component of controlling tendencies with not a lot of mental response as indicated by (Hazan & Shaver, 1987).

An observation by Ainsworth shown that children who are dismissing experienced a characteristic of not being distressed by the departure of their caregivers and they were also not too much bothered by their go back. This observation was reported by (Tracy & Ainsworth, 1981).

In adults

It is also a general fact that men and women who belong to the group of the dismissing individuals do feel a certain sense of worthiness. They however own an extremely negative disposition towards other individuals. They actually have a self applied protection mechanism which involves the avoidance of very close human relationships and the maintenance of a general sense of independence coupled with invulnerability.

The preoccupied (Fearful avoidant attachment styles)

This third connection style is known as the preoccupied style. These people do experience an extremely high level of anxiety coupled with low avoidance. Therefore they get preoccupied and do feel on the constant basis, a sense of unlovabililty along recover of unworthiness that is combined with an affirmative analysis of others. The preoccupied style is usually made whenever a principal treatment giver is inconsistent in their manner of parenting. This is proclaimed with being caring while being responsive. That is however true only once they are able to manage however, not in their reaction to the child's alerts as described by Cassidy (2000).

In adults

Several adults have been proven to be exhibiting this style and they're regarded as in a regular search to be accepted by others through the gaining of acceptance of other individuals locally.

Fearful avoidant style

This is the last kind of avoidance styles It consists of highly negative individuals. They certainly have

High anxiety

High avoidance

They also feel the next



They view people negatively and consider them as either rejecting or untrustworthy.

Due to this, they usually avoid very close relationship and try to avoid being rejected no matter what. This group is made up of those who have been abused and neglected as described by (Bartholomew & Horowitz, 1991).

The durability of the connection styles

The durability in cases like this refers to the condition of stableness of the attachment styles. This has however been a topic of too much controversy and debate. The connection theory postulates that after repeated experiences during an individual's childhood, they are doing while in infancy, create a string of knowledge structures an idea that may also be known as an internal working model that serves on your behalf of the various several interactions that the infant had while they were with their most important attention giver.

The newborn then learns to the fact that whenever their main caregivers get reactive then they have a chance of counting on them as well as others should you need to. Alternatively, in case the principal treatment givers are frigid, unresponsive and inconsistent, then your child would soon learn to ignore or rather disregard their role in his / her life when it comes to gaining comfort.


This model has for years been thought of as being persistent throughout the life span of a person and can be viewed as to act for these people as some sort of helpful information as illustrated by Fraley, (2002).

In order to aid this model, we draw out the fact that adults generally do tend to be attentive to situations that bring out their experiences and information that is within congruence with the worldly expectations. This is called the "confirmation bias"

In order to illustrate this, we look at the analysis that was conducted by Simpson, Rholes, & Nelligan in 1992 that portrayed that individuals who have avoidant working models with a general view of others as being unreliable did also vies communal scenarios to be ambiguous.

A research conducted by Roisman, Collins, Sroufe, & Egeland (2005) to be able to explore if an infant's style of attachment could be predictive with their adult hood mentioned that

A secure head state in regards to one;s romantic relationship and better of (high quality) partnership is generally a result of a secured attachment relationship that took place in infancy.

In another analysis by Torgersen, Grova, & Sommerstand, (2007) whose research relied on the test results of hypothesis that purported that connection in most adults is heavily inspired by certain hereditary factors. This was done by using a contrast of both monozygotic as well as dizygotic twins connection styles.

Their consequence is was that both the environment and the genes have a serious influence on attachment

Recent theories

Several recent theories dispute this notion. They certainly propose however that the strength of a certain style is a functions of the stableness of an individual's environment.

This can be illustrated with a concern of the activities of new romantic relationships and formation of new accessories both which can result in positive affect on an individual's working model.

It will probably be worth noting that the attachment theory is very essential in the reason of an individual's interpersonal marriage in an eternity. The four suggested attachments styles



Dismissing and

Fearful avoidant

Are all important in the explanation of a person's interpersonal relationship. It is important to notice that the strength of attachment has been questioned and much more research is certainly going upon this.

Applications to public phenomena

Attachment theory in nurturing children

Attachment is the hyperlink that forms between your person caring for a child and the newborn itself from when it's between eight to nine months of age, supplying the kid security psychologically. Bonding starts off from when a child is being given food, and goes on to taking part in pseudo-dialogue and then it is accompanied by the child getting involved in more active jobs of proto dialogue, as shown by Kaye (1982), other ideas such as inter-subjectivity and scaffolding have been looked into by psychologists. As a child remains growing, their attention towards the individual caring for them boosts.

John Bowlby (1958, 1980) founder of the connection theory was involved in extensive research on the mental link between newborns and parents and he had a strong notion that the early relationships greatly motivated the mental and behavioral progress of a kid. An earlier review done by Bowlby in 1944 discovered that children who experienced an unstable upbringing where more likely to become juvenile derelicts. His work is often absolve to criticism and has been improved upon on with further research. Other pursuing research has assessed different levels of security and insecurity in children from early on times by use of the method known as Strange Situation Test. Other explorations also have shown different kinds of the difficult patterns and what sort of child may relate with the person caring for them positively.

Bowlby's theory was founded on ideas from ethology studies and previous works. The psychodynamic theory as put by Sigmund Freund was very relevant during the 50's following the Second World Conflict when women were taking on caring for households and playing motherhood jobs as men were going back to occupation post war. Sigmund believed that each child must have a marriage with one caregiver 'monotropism' and that separating from this person would produce the 'proximity promoting behaviors' in the attachment order. The caregiver arriving would cause the manners of, clinging, making noises and crying to come to a finish. The guarded grounds of the affectionate links present between your parent and child representation becomes part and parcel of the inner working model. These therefore become the heart and the bottom of most close romantic relationship during continuation of the child's life all through to adulthood. The disturbance of a mom and child's romantic relationship through lack of emotion, parting and bereavement to the bonding process.

Bowlby's theory of maternal deprivation (1951, 1953) was reinforced by Konrad Lorenz imprinting review on the young ones of pets or animals done in 1966. He assumed that the child's caregiver should impress as a constant figure, which lack of maternal links between mom and child could be dangerous to the child's health emotionally and could cause delinquency. His views on long-term organizational attention were that if a kid was put in a foster home before achieving 2 yrs and half a year social, psychological and cognitive development may not be postponed but his other works show there's been differing types of parting in junior with serious behavioral issues. Attachment behavior as looked into by Mary Ainsworth works (1985) Ainsworth & Bell, (1974) Ainsworth et al (1978) becomes the bottom for everyone potential connections and this evolves up to two years from the time the child is born. She also decided with Bowlby on the thoughts and opinions that the procedure of connection bonding occurs at the age of two years. Approximately when the infant is about 7 calendar months old when they get to be watchful of strangers and anonymous environments. This goes on until the child attains two years of age. The process Ainsworth (1969) investigated to determine if a child was firmly or insecurely connected was the 'peculiar situation paradigm'. This engaged a series of brief separations and reunions. The child's mother or father and a person anonymous to the kid had taken part in the study with a child aged twelve months, there were eight series altogether and Ainsworth's measurement on secure and insecure interconnection was founded on the reunion arena of how the child reacted in such a situation. Analysis was completed using four different factors. The results confirmed that there were three main varying styles of changing. Type A was the anxious and avoidant. THE SORT B secure while the Type C was the anxious and ambivalent. Most children proved secure attachment; one fifth of these showed restless/avoidant and one tenth exhibited stressed/ambivalent. Main and Solomon (1990) presented yet another adjustable, D Type: which in recent times was disorganized to complement the manners of children in risky surroundings. The 'weird situation paradigm', has been faulted by Judy Dunn (1982, 1983), she presumed that children from differing backgrounds like institutional good care and those coping with their own families may bring different meanings to the ensure that you the child's environment. The method and results of the experiment are doubted even by Judy Dunn herself. In another study completed by Richman in 1982 et al it revealed that different dangerous factors of disturbed action can be visible from the time a kid is three years old. Some of the factors known to influence a child's mental development will be the mother's state of mind, marital steadiness and the parents' attitudes to the kid. The child's effective part must be taken into consideration when offering advice on mentioning children as is shown in Sameroff's 1991 transactional model, as children interact with their environments, as the caregiver builds up the child's behavior and how they will associate in future.

In Ainsworth and Bowlby's view where they both recognize relationships are universal it can said that different peoples and cultures have different certifications to what level or amount of time a child should be still left alone, Japanese, the Chinese and the Israeli results showed Type C in a study done across civilizations by one Marinus truck Ijzendoorn and Peter Kroonenberg in 1988. Problems may be with the ethological view of drawing comparisons between children and the kids of pets or animals as they may be managed by an instinct. Bowlby considered only the effect on the child by the caregiver yet other factors could have an effect on this like the child moods. A mother whose child has a thorny feelings could would rather work and leave the youngster in a day facility which in turn could have a negative influence on the mom being unable to leave the child behind with other folks. The mothers' perseverance and the appearance of the goodness of fit. Experts Chess and Thomas (1984) recommended that connection could effect on the behavior and a reflection on the connection link between the child and the principal caregiver (mom). Bowbly and Ainsworth proved helpful together in the development of secure links as per the hypersensitive mothering of a kid in its first year but it could impact on the mom as argued by Woollet and Pheonix in 1991, where if she's to get away from all her early on work and responsibilities possibly leading to frustrations. A workable alternate is to talk about the responsibility of parenting but this idea seems to be compare to the thoughts and opinions of Ainsworth and Bowlby.

The teaching of the movie 'A Two-Year-Old Would go to Medical center', by James Robertson in 1952 confirmed the stress and pains of a child segregated from the mom throughout a long stay static in hospital. During this period mothers were encouraged never to pay regular visits to their children while in hospital. Matching to Ainsworth and Bowlby, the abrupt and early separation of the child would have terribly influenced its mental wellbeing and the bonding process. Parting and providing alternate means for taking care of the child have been explored on more recently. Day care was among the list of topics investigated into by Bowlby and his perception was that that if a child started out nursery schooling before attaining 3 years of age, it could also cause irreparable harm to the kid. However, recent tests done during the 70's and 80's have shown varying opinions and this was demonstrated in a study carried out by Laurence Steinberg and Jan Belsky in 1978 and in another review done by Clarke-Stewart and Fein (1983). A much later study done by Belsky (1988), possessed different views as moms who worked for more than 20 hours a week proved a higher degree of insecure attachment when compared with his earlier review which found zero problems with taking children for day care, Clarke-Stewart opposed this data. Other crucial factors that would have to be taken into account regarding to Belsky were the difference in the surroundings, the children in your day care facility, the personnel at the day care and the grade of the day attention.

Appendix A

Figure 1: Attachment models source (http://www. personalityresearch. org/attachment. html)

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