Evaluation points for Bowlbys Theory

These are the strengths and weaknesses of Bowlby's theory

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Evaluating Bowlby's Theory
STRENGTHS
Universality
I- Universality would expect attachment and caregiving behaviours to be universal
E- Tronik et al 1992 studied an African tribe and found that babies would sleep with the town
mother at night, despite being breastfed by different women, even after 6 months
J- This therefore shows support for the view that attachment and caregiving are universal
and not influenced by culture
Monotropy
I- Schaffer and Emerson 1964 supported Bowlby's suggestion that infants form multiple
attachments but one has special importance
E- Schaffer and Emerson 1964 observed 60 babies from Glasgow and found that infants had
one primary object of attachment, based on quality of caregiving.
J- Therefore showing that infants do have a special bond with one attachment figure when
the care is provided sensitively
Caregiver Sensitivity
I- It was suggested by Bowlby that the key to a strong attachment is down to the child
being responded to sensitively
E- Harlow's study showed infant monkeys who formed a one way attachment with a cloth
wire mother became quite maladjusted adults ­poor relationships and poor parents. This
underlines the importance of interaction in attachment.
J- Therefore telling us that bad attachments in childhood, can change the way we are in
adulthood (insensitive caregiving= Psychological problems) Supporting the continuity
hypothesis

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WEAKNESSES
Multiple Attachments
I- The multiple attachment model suggest there are no primary and secondary attachments
E- All attachments are said to be integrated into one single working model- Grossman and
Grossmann 1991 research showed the importance of an infant father attachment, and
highlighted the importance of sibling relationships
J-Therefore suggesting you don't need on individual caregiver to produce an attachment,
everyone is equally important.…read more

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