Home Attachment theory is meant to describe and explain people's enduring patterns of relationships from birth to death.
Infant attachment[ edit ] The attachment system serves to achieve or maintain proximity to the attachment figure.
In close physical proximity this system is not activated, and the infant can direct its attention to the outside world. Within attachment theory, attachment means "a biological instinct in which proximity to an attachment figure is sought when the child senses or perceives threat or discomfort.
Attachment behaviour anticipates a response by the attachment figure which will remove threat or discomfort". John Bowlby begins by noting organisms at different levels of the phylogenetic scale regulate instinctive behavior in distinct ways, ranging from primitive reflex-like "fixed action patterns" to complex plan hierarchies with subgoals and strong learning components.
In the most complex organisms, instinctive behaviors may be "goal-corrected" with continual on-course adjustments such as a bird of prey adjusting its flight to the movements of the prey. Such flexible organisms pay a price, however, because adaptable behavioral systems can more easily be subverted from their optimal path of development.
For humans, Bowlby speculates, the environment of evolutionary adaptedness probably resembles present-day hunter-gatherer societies for the purpose of survival, and, ultimately, genetic replication.
These figures are arranged hierarchically, with the principal attachment figure at the top. Anxiety is the anticipation or fear of being cut off from the attachment figure. If the figure is unavailable or unresponsive, separation distress occurs. Threats to security in older children and adults arise from prolonged absence, breakdowns in communication, emotional unavailability, or signs of rejection or abandonment.
A securely attached baby is free to concentrate on their environment. The attachment behavioural system serves to achieve or maintain proximity to the attachment figure.
During the first phase the first eight weeksinfants smile, babble, and cry to attract the attention of potential caregivers.
Although infants of this age learn to discriminate between caregivers, these behaviours are directed at anyone in the vicinity. During the second phase two to six monthsthe infant discriminates between familiar and unfamiliar adults, becoming more responsive toward the caregiver; following and clinging are added to the range of behaviours.
If the caregiver is inaccessible or unresponsive, attachment behaviour is more strongly exhibited. For example, whereas babies cry because of pain, two-year-olds cry to summon their caregiver, and if that does not work, cry louder, shout, or follow. Tenets[ edit ] Common attachment behaviours and emotions, displayed in most social primates including humans, are adaptive.
The long-term evolution of these species has involved selection for social behaviors that make individual or group survival more likely. The commonly observed attachment behaviour of toddlers staying near familiar people would have had safety advantages in the environment of early adaptation, and has similar advantages today.
Bowlby saw the environment of early adaptation as similar to current hunter-gatherer societies.Attachment is a special emotional relationship that involves an exchange of comfort, care, and pleasure. The roots of research on attachment began with Freud's theories about love, but another researcher is usually credited as the father of attachment theory.
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Attachment is an emotional bond that impacts behavior throughout life. Learn more about the different styles of attachment and the role they play. Prepared by Valerie J. Packota. Introduction. Emotional abuse is one of the most prevalent forms of abuse of women by their intimate partners and its damage is unquestionably severe, undermining a woman's sense of worth, agency, and independence.
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Why is attachment theory so important in some court proceedings?
There is clearly room for debate about how attachment should be measured and what implications this has for trying to support families in crisis.