Bowlbys Theory of Attachment

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Attachment is a two way emotional bond between an infant and its primary carer. It is characterised by:

Proximity seeking - the need/want to be close to eachother 

Separation anxiety - feeling worried when not together

Stranger anxiety - feeling worried/scared around new people

Secure base behaviour - having the confidence to interact with others provided the primary carer is present and available to check in with. 

Bowlbys Theory of Attachment

Evolutionary basis: WHY Idea that we may form attachments because there is an evolutionary advantage in forming secure attachment relationships and its thought to be passed on genetically over the years. Those that maintain close proximity to their carers and regularly return to them for comfort are less vunerable to predators and so have a stronger chance of survival . Predators millions of years ago did mean actual animals however nowadays other dangers have arisen like cars and strangers. HOW Potential to form an attachment is evolutionary/genetic but the person and quality of the attachment is down to experience. Babies are born with social releasers which are a set of instinctive behaviours such as smiling, sucking and crying that may have been evolved to maximise the chances of being well looked after. They evoke instinctive parenting responses from adults. This two way process is what builds the attachment relationship. Failure of the carer to provide appropriate responses to the child can result in psychological damage. (start of insecure att) Hence, the most important influence on a childs development is the effort and skill of the primary carer. 

Psychodynamic ideas: LT EFFECTS Internal working models are the idea that a developing child forms a mental representation (ie mental schema of what relationships should be like) of their first attachment relationship and that this model has marked effects on later relationships and their own success at parenting. Patterns of behaviour may be passed on through families. Behaviours such as reliability or neglect may be reproduced. Maternal deprivation hypothesis is the idea that a child requires the continuous presence of a primary caregiver throughout a sensitive period (up to 18-24months) otherwise there could be two serious consequences if the attachment is disrupted.. 1) Affectionless psychopathy- the inability to experience guilt, empathy or deep feelings for other people, it is associated with criminality. 2) Developmental retardation - slowed cognitive development. However, this hypothesis is controversial as people believe children are more resilient to early experiences than he gave them credit for eg. temporary separation.

AO2 of the Evolutionary Basis:

Brazleton et al (1975) found that mothers and babies imitated eachothers movements and interactions. He also asked mothers to ignore social releasers shown by their babies and he observed that the babies became distressed, some even becoming motionless and showing signs of depression. This suggests that social releasers are important in building emotional ties.

Bailey et al (2007) found that mothers who reported insecure attachments to their own parents were much more likely to have children whose behaviour implied insecure attachments. This could suggest that a pattern


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