Evaluation: Bowlby's Monotropic Theory of Attachment


Evidence for monotropy is mixed

  • Schaffer and Emmerson (1964): babies did not attach to one person at first, but a significant minority formed attachments at the same time
  • Contradictory of Bowlby's assertion that babies only form one attachment to a primary caregiver and that this attachment is unique
  • Attachemnt to mothers predicts later behaviour, however, this could be because the mother is the primary attachment, not the different attachment quality

Monotropy is socially sensitive

  • Law of accumulated searation: having substantial time away from a primary carer risks a poor quality attachment that will disadvantage the child in a range of ways
  • Feminists (e.g. Burman, 1994) argue mothers are blamed for everything that goes wrong in a child's life, and this law pushes mothers into making lifestyle choices e.g. notreturning to work when a baby is born
  • Howver, Bowlby…


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