Bowlby's theory of attachment


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  • Bowlby's evolutionary theory of attachment (1969)
    • Components
      • Attachment is adaptive and innate
        • Attachment has long term benefits for the child, so they have a drive to seek it
        • This allows the child to be protected and safe, thus increasing their survival chances
      • Sensitive period
        • Due to attachment being innate, there is a small window for it to develop
        • Bowlby considers the second quarter of the first year to be the sensitive period
        • The more time passes past this period, the harder it becomes to create an attachment
      • Care-giving is adaptive
        • Infants are born with social releasers which include smiling and crying etc
        • Social releasers create an innate response from an adult to provide care giving
      • A secure base
        • A secure base in an adult provides the infant with freedom to explore
        • This creates independence rather than dependence on the care giver
      • Monotropy
        • Infants form many attachments, but one has special importance
        • The bias to the primary attachment is normally the primary care giver
        • This is due to the fact that they are normally the most sensitive to the infant
        • This person becomes the foundation for which emotional development, self-esteem and future relationships founds itself on
      • Internal working model
        • The child develops a belief on what future relationships and what they should expect from them
      • continuity hypothesis
        • Our attachment to our care giver continues into later life and effects our relationships
    • Evaluation
      • Strengths
        • Impriniting in non-human animals
          • Lorenz Geece
            • The geece imprinted on the first thing they saw, this happened to be Lorenz
        • Sensitive period
          • Hodges & Tizard (1989)
            • 65 children assessed from early life to adolesence
            • The restored children were less liley to have formed attachments
            • The adopted children were closely attached with their families
            • However they were more likely to have problems with peers and more likely to be bullies
        • Universiality
          • Tronick et al (1992)
            • African tribes
            • Despite the fact that they were cared for by multiple people in the tribes, they slept with their mother which showed they had formed an attachment with her, despite differences in raising children
        • Monotropy
          • Can use Tronick et al (1992) (see universality)
          • Schaffer & Emerson (1964)
            • The infants had many attachments with different people
            • However they still maintained one primary attachment with the primary care giver
        • Care-giver sensitivity
          • Harlow's monkeys (1959)
            • Despite the fact there was no interaction, the cloth mother provides comfort unlike the wire mother.
            • Thus the monkey was more attached to the cloth mother
        • Continuity hypothesis
          • Sroufe et al (2005)
            • Followed pts from infancy to late adolescence
            • Found consistency between early attachment and social behaviour
      • Limitations
        • Multiple attachments
          • Rutter et al
            • There are no primary and secondary attachments
            • All attachments are integrated into one working model
        • Temperament hypothesis
          • Kagen (1984)
            • An innately trusting and friendly peronality could be a prime factor in determining someones attachment type
            • This will shape a mothers responsivenes

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