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The Nature of Child’s Ties

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1 The Nature of Child’s Ties
Cassidy, J. (1999). The nature of the child’s ties. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications (pp. 3-20). New York: Guilford Press.

2 An Evolutionary Perspective
Proximity to parents facilitates protection of children. Infants are predisposed to seek proximity during distress. Attachment, therefore, contributes to evolutionary survival. “Within this framework, attachment is considered a normal and healthy characteristic of humans throughout the lifespan, rather than a sign of immaturity that needs to be outgrown” (Cassidy, 1999, p. 5). Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

3 The Attachment Behavioral System
Attachment behavioral system refers to a particular repertoires of behaviors that an individual uses. Attachment occurs even when physical needs are not met or the child is abused. The attachment behavioral system is a goal-corrected system which is flexible. “[T]he flexible use of a variety of attachment behaviors, depending on the circumstances, affords the infant greater efficiency in goal-corrected responses” (Cassidy, 1999, p. 5). Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

4 Individual Differences
Although there is a biological basis for attachment and all children become attached (even to abusive parents), not all children become securely attached. “Secure attachment occurs when a child has a mental representation of the attachment figure as available and responsive when needed. Infants are considered insecurely attached when they lack such a representation” (Cassidy, 1999, p. 7). The Role of Context Activation of the attachment behavioral system is influenced by conditions in the child conditions in the environment. “In sum, proximity seeking is activated when the infant receives information (from both internal and external sources) that a goal (the desired distance from the mother) is exceeded. It remains activated until the goal is achieved, and then it stops” (Cassidy, 1999, p. 6). Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

5 Individual Differences (cont.)
The Role of Emotion Intense emotions are associated with the “formation, the maintenance, the disruption, and the renewal of attachment relationships” (Cassidy, 1999, p. 6). Emotions contribute to motivation to seek attachment. The Role of Cognition Children learn to use specific attachment behaviors with specific people in specific situations. Children develop “internal working models” that help them anticipate the future. Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

6 Attachment in Relation to Other Behavioral Systems
The Exploratory System The exploratory behavioral system promotes survival because curiosity helps children learn about and adapt to their environment. This system reduces attachment behavior The Fear System: the fear behavioral system promotes safety and, as a result, engages the attachment system. The Sociable System: “[T]he organization of the biologically based, survival-promoting tendency to be sociable with others” (Cassidy, 1999, p. 9). This system is ferent from the attachment system. The Caregiving System Parent repertoire of behaviors that are engaged to respond to attachment-seeking in children. Like other systems, it is activated by internal and external cues. Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

7 Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson
The Attachment Bond Attachment bond refers to an affectional tie: “this bond is not between two people; it is instead a bond that one individual has to another individual who is perceived as stronger and wiser … A person can be attached to a person who is not in turn attached to him or her” (Cassidy, 1999, p. 12). Cassidy reported several important propositions about attachment theory: The attachment bond is only one feature of a parent-child relationship. Caregivers also serve as playmates, teachers, and disciplinarians. Children experience multiple attachments but the quality of the attachment bond is not the same in each relationship. The quality of the bond is influenced by amount of interaction, quality of care provided, and emotional investment of the caregiver. The attachment bond cannot be inferred from the presence or absence of attachment behavior. Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

8 Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson
Multiple Attachments Children form more than one attachment and strength of attachment seems to be influenced by the extent to which the caregiver provides sensitive care. The potential number of attachment figures is not limtless. Although children have multiple attachment figures, they do not treat all attachment figures as equivalent. Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

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