Bowlby's Theory of Attachment


Bowlby's Theory of Attachment:

Psychodynamic Roots:

Where psychodynamic theory suggests that relationship problems can arise from fantasies about relationships with parents, Bowlby thought that real relationships with parents could be the cause of later problems, which meant that he moved away from his psychodynamic roots. However, he used psychodynamic ideas: for example, he thought that the child's mother or main caregiver acted both as ego and superego, before these could develop. 

An Evolutionary Basis to Attachment:

Bowlby considered many other theories in addition to psychodynamic ideas, including the work of Konrad Lorenz (1952) and others, who were using ethological studies. Lorenz suggested that by imprinting on their mother, precocial species were more likely to survive. 

Bowlby thought that human infants might have a similar 'attachment' instinct that would ensure survival, so he put forward to evolutionary basis of attachment. Evolution theory holds that any behaviour/characteristic that aids survival will mean that an organism survives to reproduce its genes, so a behaviour or characteristic will be passed on through genes. (Survival of the fittest).

Bowlby's theory agreed with evolution theory because he thought that babies came into the world with an innate tendency to attach and bond to a main carer that would enable their survival. He maintained that…


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