Overview of Attachment

  • Created by: KarenL78
  • Created on: 04-12-17 20:00

Overview of Attachment (1):

  • Attachment is defined as "an enduring, two-way, emotional tie to a specific other person", normally between a parent and child, which develops in set stages with a fairly set time scale.
  • Maccoby (1980) describes it as "a relatively enduring emotional tie to a specific other person".
  • Attachment is a basic need which will need to change with time so that eventually a child can become totally independent of his parents and become and adult.
  • The child moves from a one-to-one attachment wiht its parents and siblings to forming friendships with other children to eventually forming a romantic attachment to another person, which ideally results in a long-lasting relationship and possibly their own children.  The child becomes a social being.
  • Robertson & Robertson (1971) suggest that babies have a general tendency to be close to people, which is initially directed at towards anyone who happens to be near the child, known as sociability.  This develops into a stronger emotional ties, selective attachments, to particular individuals.
  • Cassidy (1991) maintains that without an attachment the child is at increased risk of psychological and social difficulties.
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Overview of Attachment (2):

  • Attachments implies a dependency on another individual.  In this sense it's a 2-way relationship but this does not mean it means the same thing to each person in the relationship.  It may be expressed or felt differently.
  • It is therefore possible to have differen strengths of attachments and for attachments to change over time or be broken altogether.
  • When the major theories of attachment were developed in the 1950's there was a need to create a stable home (and society) following the heavy losses in the war.  This dictated that women become the home-makers and men the workers.  It's possible that such historical factors shaped the theories that were developed.
  • Today there is more emphasis on the role of the father, brought about at least to some extent by changing work patterns and the need for both parents to be earning an income.
  • What is considered best for the child is often considered best for society (worth remembering if asked q's about the implications of attachment theory in the real world or economy). 
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