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Glossary of Terms
Can pertain to all people, regardless of age, but typically relates to the attachment between children and
caregivers (usually the mother). Attachment is an emotional tie or bond between two people. This is a very
powerful bond that is important for survival - it keeps infants close to their mothers which is important for
getting food, staying away from danger, and getting comfort.
A healthy infant's attachment relationships form a hierarchy of strength, with the infant's primary attachment
figure at the top. Early and successful monotropic attachments often go on to form other important bonds
and attachments with other key figures in the infant's life.
Primary Attachment Figure;
The first and most important person to which the infant attaches or bonds with. This is the pathway for all
later emotional bonds, so the primary attachment has to be strong and the child must be able to trust the
attachment figure completely. May not always be the mother, but some other carer or relative.
The process of getting to know one another that occurs between the infant and main figures in the infant's
life in order to become more able to predict actions and feelings and what certain things mean with certain
These are signs given off by the infant in order to obtain attention or help, e.g. crying, smiling or laughing.