Bowlby's Theory of attachment

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  • Evolutionary Theory (John Bowlby's theory)
    • Attachments are innate and adaptive
      • They enhance the likelihood of survival and reproduction
    • Attachment figures provide a secure base from which the child can explore and develop independence whilst still feeling safe and protected
    • Infants display behaviours and characteristics called social releasers which trigger a biological care giving reaction
    • A special relationship with a primary attachment figure, which Bowlby called monotropy
      • Acts as a template of expectations for all later relationships as a result of the internal working model
    • Attachment type in early childhood is said to indicate behaviour patterns in later life.
      • This is called the continuity hypothosis
    • An attachment forms with the person who responds more sensitively to the baby's needs
      • provides the best quality care
  • Attachment figures provide a secure base from which the child can explore and develop independence whilst still feeling safe and protected
  • Evidence
    • Evolutionary Theory (John Bowlby's theory)
      • Attachments are innate and adaptive
        • They enhance the likelihood of survival and reproduction
      • Infants display behaviours and characteristics called social releasers which trigger a biological care giving reaction
      • A special relationship with a primary attachment figure, which Bowlby called monotropy
        • Acts as a template of expectations for all later relationships as a result of the internal working model
      • Attachment type in early childhood is said to indicate behaviour patterns in later life.
        • This is called the continuity hypothosis
      • An attachment forms with the person who responds more sensitively to the baby's needs
        • provides the best quality care
    • one main attachment
      • large study in Glasgow
        • children did form one primary attachment even though they also formed several others within their families
      • Study of babies in an African society found that babies formed one main attachment with their mothers
        • even though they were breastfed & cared for by whoever was available
      • A review of several studies in 2006 found that although children form several attachments there is a main attachment figure
        • support Bowlby's idea of monotropy
    • Most sensitive carer =attachment figure
      • Babies in Kibbutzim in Israel are cared for most of the day and even sleep in large nurseries where they are cared for by nurses.
        • they spend a few hours with their mothers after work. The babies in the study were most strongly attached to their mothers
          • Suggests that sensitive care is the most important factor in the formation of the attachment as the nurses had to look after many children and changed regularly
            • they couldn't give such good quality care to the individual babies whereas the mothers provided very sensitive care
    • Continuity between the nature of the1st attachment and later relationships
      • 1)Children who had the most secure relationship with their mothers as babies formed better friendships with other children
        • than those who were less securely attached
        • 2)Those who had secure relationships as babies had happier more trusting romantic relationships as adults
          • supports Bowlby's theory that the first attachments sets the pattern for all other relationships
  • Suggests that sensitive care is the most important factor in the formation of the attachment as the nurses had to look after many children and changed regularly
    • they couldn't give such good quality care to the individual babies whereas the mothers provided very sensitive care

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