2DefinitionAttachment theory states that a strong emotional and physical attachment to at least one primary caregiver is critical to personal development.The ability for an individual to form an emotional and physical "attachment" to another person gives a sense of stability and security necessary to take risks, branch out, and grow and develop as a personality.
3John Bowlby-early studies Psychologist John Bowlby was the first to coin the termWithout “attachment”, Bowlby found that a great deal of energy is expended in the search for stability and securityIn general, those without such attachments are fearful and are less willing to seek out and learn from new experiences.A child with a strong attachment to a parent knows that they have "back-up" so to speak, and thusly tend to be more adventurous and eager to have new experiences (which are vital to learning and development)
4Mary AinsworthMary Ainsworth would develop many of the ideas set forth by Bowlby in her studies. In particular, she identified the existence of what she calls "attachment behavior", examples of behavior that are demonstrated by insecure children in hopes of establishing or re-establishing an attachment to a presently absent caregiver
5Attachment BehaviorThe study worked by looking at a broad cross- section of children with varying degrees of attachment to their parents or caregivers from strong and healthy attachments to weak and tenuous bonds. The children were then separated from their caregivers and their responses were observed. The children with strong attachments were relatively calm, seeming to be secure in the belief that their caregivers would return shortly, whereas the children with weak attachments would cry and demonstrate great distress until they were restored to their parents.
7Hazen and Shafer-Adults They turned attachment theory on adult relationshipsIn their studies, they looked at a number of couples, examining the nature of the attachments between them, and then observed how those couples reacted to various stressors and stimuliIn the case of adults, it would seem that a strong attachment is still quite important.
8ConclusionsFor example, in cases where the adults had a weak attachment, there were feelings of inadequacy and a lack of intimacy on the part of both parties. When attachments were too strong, there were issues with co- dependency. The relationships functioned best when both parties managed to balance intimacy with independence. Much as is the case with developing children, the ideal situation seemed to be an attachment that functioned as a secure base from which to reach out and gain experience in the world.
9Criticisms of the Attachment Theory In some cultures, the idea of a child being intimately attached to a caregiver is strangeChild-rearing duties are more evenly distributed among a group of people.Still, "well-adjusted" members of society are produced, indicating that, at least in these societies, some other mechanism is acting in the place of the attachments that are so necessary for Western children.
10Types of attachmentSecureInsecureAnxiety (anxious)Avoidant
11References1. Bowlby, John. Attachment and Loss2. Ainsworth, M. “Infancy in Uganda: Infant Care and the Growth of Love.” Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, Hazan, C. & Shaver, P. “Attachment as an organizational framework for research on close relationship.” Psychological Inquiry , 1994.