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❶Social Work Review , 10 1, pp.

Attachment Theories

Related terms:
Stages of Attachment
Literature review used in the research

Hazan and Shaver were two of the first researchers to explore Bowlby's ideas in the context of romantic relationships. According to Hazan and Shaver, the emotional bond that develops between adult romantic partners is partly a function of the same motivational system--the attachment behavioral system--that gives rise to the emotional bond between infants and their caregivers.

Hazan and Shaver noted that the relationship between infants and caregivers and the relationship between adult romantic partners share the following features:.

On the basis of these parallels, Hazan and Shaver argued that adult romantic relationships, like infant-caregiver relationships, are attachments, and that romantic love is a property of the attachment behavioral system, as well as the motivational systems that give rise to caregiving and sexuality. The idea that romantic relationships may be attachment relationships has had a profound influence on modern research on close relationships. There are at least three critical implications of this idea.

First, if adult romantic relationships are attachment relationships, then we should observe the same kinds of individual differences in adult relationships that Ainsworth observed in infant-caregiver relationships. We may expect some adults, for example, to be secure in their relationships--to feel confident that their partners will be there for them when needed, and open to depending on others and having others depend on them. We should expect other adults, in contrast, to be insecure in their relationships.

For example, some insecure adults may be anxious-resistant: Others may be avoidant: Second, if adult romantic relationships are attachment relationships, then the way adult relationships "work" should be similar to the way infant-caregiver relationships work. In other words, the same kinds of factors that facilitate exploration in children i. The kinds of things that make an attachment figure "desirable" for infants i. In short, individual differences in attachment should influence relational and personal functioning in adulthood in the same way they do in childhood.

Third, whether an adult is secure or insecure in his or her adult relationships may be a partial reflection of his or her experiences with his or her primary caregivers. Bowlby believed that the mental representations or working models i. For example, a secure child tends to believe that others will be there for him or her because previous experiences have led him or her to this conclusion. Once a child has developed such expectations, he or she will tend to seek out relational experiences that are consistent with those expectations and perceive others in a way that is colored by those beliefs.

According to Bowlby, this kind of process should promote continuity in attachment patterns over the life course, although it is possible that a person's attachment pattern will change if his or her relational experiences are inconsistent with his or her expectations. In short, if we assume that adult relationships are attachment relationships, it is possible that children who are secure as children will grow up to be secure in their romantic relationships. Or, relatedly, that people who are secure as adults in their relationships with their parents will be more likely to forge secure relationships with new partners.

In the sections below I briefly address these three implications in light of early and contemporary research on adult attachment. The earliest research on adult attachment involved studying the association between individual differences in adult attachment and the way people think about their relationships and their memories for what their relationships with their parents are like.

Hazan and Shaver developed a simple questionnaire to measure these individual differences. These individual differences are often referred to as attachment styles , attachment patterns , attachment orientations , or differences in the organization of the attachment system. In short, Hazan and Shaver asked research subjects to read the three paragraphs listed below, and indicate which paragraph best characterized the way they think, feel, and behave in close relationships:.

I am somewhat uncomfortable being close to others; I find it difficult to trust them completely, difficult to allow myself to depend on them. I am nervous when anyone gets too close, and often, others want me to be more intimate than I feel comfortable being. I find it relatively easy to get close to others and am comfortable depending on them and having them depend on me. I don't worry about being abandoned or about someone getting too close to me. I find that others are reluctant to get as close as I would like.

I often worry that my partner doesn't really love me or won't want to stay with me. I want to get very close to my partner, and this sometimes scares people away.

Based on this three-category measure , Hazan and Shaver found that the distribution of categories was similar to that observed in infancy. Although this measure served as a useful way to study the association between attachment styles and relationship functioning, it didn't allow a full test of the hypothesis that the same kinds of individual differences observed in infants might be manifest among adults. In many ways, the Hazan and Shaver measure assumed this to be true. Subsequent research has explored this hypothesis in a variety of ways.

For example, Kelly Brennan and her colleagues collected a number of statements e. Brennan's findings suggested that there are two fundamental dimensions with respect to adult attachment patterns see Figure 2.

One critical variable has been labeled attachment-related anxiety. People who score high on this variable tend to worry whether their partner is available, responsive, attentive, etc.

People who score on the low end of this variable are more secure in the perceived responsiveness of their partners. The other critical variable is called attachment-related avoidance. People on the high end of this dimension prefer not to rely on others or open up to others. People on the low end of this dimension are more comfortable being intimate with others and are more secure depending upon and having others depend upon them.

A prototypical secure adult is low on both of these dimensions. Brennan's findings are critical because recent analyses of the statistical patterning of behavior among infants in the strange situation reveal two functionally similar dimensions: Functionally, these dimensions are similar to the two-dimensions uncovered among adults, suggesting that similar patterns of attachment exist at different points in the life span.

Using relationship styles based on attachment theory to improve understanding of specialty choice in medicine. Patient-provider relationships in primary care are characterized by greater continuity and depth than in non-primary care specialties.

We hypothesized that relationship styles of medical students based on attachment theory are associated We hypothesized that relationship styles of medical students based on attachment theory are associated with specialty choice factors and that such factors will mediate the association between relationship style and ultimately matching in a primary care specialty.

We determined the relationship styles, demographic characteristics and resident specialty match of fourth-year medical students. We assessed the associations between 1 relationship style and specialty choice factors; 2 specialty choice factors and specialty match, and 3 relationship style and specialty match.

We also conducted mediation analyses to determine if factors examined in a specialty choice questionnaire mediate the association between relationship style and ultimately matching in a primary care specialty.

Prevalence of attachment styles was similar to that found in the gener Theory, Coding, and Scores. The Meaning of the Child Interview: A new procedure for assessing and understanding parent-child relationships of 'at-risk families. Parents are interviewed using the established Parent Development Interview, or equivalent, and the transcript of the interview is then analysed according to parental sensitivity and likely risk to the child.

The MotC constructs were developed from those used in observed parent-child interaction specifically, the CARE-Index and the form of discourse analysis used in the Dynamic Maturational Model - Adult Attachment Interview, allowing a more systemic and inter-subjective understanding of parenting representations than often put forward. This article discusses the theoretical background to the MotC, gives a brief review of similar measures and then introduces the coding system and patterns of caregiving.

The validity of the MotC is addressed elsewhere. This article proposes a theoretical model for the comprehensive assessment of parenting. The model is rooted in attachment theory and evolutionary. The ability to hold the role of observer is an essential skill for social work which can. Depression is assumed to be both a risk factor for rejection and a result of it, and as such constitutes an important factor in rejection research. Attachment theory has been applied to understand psychological disorders, such as Attachment theory has been applied to understand psychological disorders, such as depression, and can explain individual differences in responses to rejection.

Research on autonomic nervous system activity to rejection experiences has been contradictory, with opposing strings of argumentation activating vs. These results suggest that attachment status may be a useful indicator of autonomic responses to perceived social threat, which in turn may affect the therapeutic process and the patient-therapist relationship.

Ne'e hanesan examplu ida ba kolega Engineiru sira wainhira sura be'e mos ba uma. Personality Dynamics, Motivation, and the Logic of Explanation. However, it has relatively little relevance for attachment theory itself, which "neither requires nor predicts discrete patterns of attachment.

There is some evidence that gender differences in attachment patterns of adaptive significance begin to emerge in middle childhood. Insecure attachment and early psychosocial stress indicate the presence of environmental risk for example poverty, mental illness, instability, minority status, violence. Environmental risk can cause insecure attachment, while also favouring the development of strategies for earlier reproduction.

Different reproductive strategies have different adaptive values for males and females: Adrenarche is proposed as the endocrine mechanism underlying the reorganization of insecure attachment in middle childhood. Childhood and adolescence allows the development of an internal working model useful for forming attachments. This internal working model is related to the individual's state of mind which develops with respect to attachment generally and explores how attachment functions in relationship dynamics based on childhood and adolescent experience.

The organization of an internal working model is generally seen as leading to more stable attachments in those who develop such a model, rather than those who rely more on the individual's state of mind alone in forming new attachments. Age, cognitive growth, and continued social experience advance the development and complexity of the internal working model. Attachment-related behaviours lose some characteristics typical of the infant-toddler period and take on age-related tendencies.

The preschool period involves the use of negotiation and bargaining. Ideally, these social skills become incorporated into the internal working model to be used with other children and later with adult peers. As children move into the school years at about six years old, most develop a goal-corrected partnership with parents, in which each partner is willing to compromise in order to maintain a gratifying relationship.

Generally, a child is content with longer separations, provided contact—or the possibility of physically reuniting, if needed—is available. Attachment behaviours such as clinging and following decline and self-reliance increases. By middle childhood ages 7—11 , there may be a shift toward mutual coregulation of secure-base contact in which caregiver and child negotiate methods of maintaining communication and supervision as the child moves toward a greater degree of independence.

Attachment theory was extended to adult romantic relationships in the late s by Cindy Hazan and Phillip Shaver. Four styles of attachment have been identified in adults: These roughly correspond to infant classifications: Securely attached adults tend to have positive views of themselves, their partners and their relationships. They feel comfortable with intimacy and independence, balancing the two.

Anxious-preoccupied adults seek high levels of intimacy, approval and responsiveness from partners, becoming overly dependent. They tend to be less trusting, have less positive views about themselves and their partners, and may exhibit high levels of emotional expressiveness, worry and impulsiveness in their relationships.

Dismissive-avoidant adults desire a high level of independence, often appearing to avoid attachment altogether. They view themselves as self-sufficient, invulnerable to attachment feelings and not needing close relationships. They tend to suppress their feelings, dealing with conflict by distancing themselves from partners of whom they often have a poor opinion.

Fearful-avoidant adults have mixed feelings about close relationships, both desiring and feeling uncomfortable with emotional closeness. They tend to mistrust their partners and view themselves as unworthy. Like dismissive-avoidant adults, fearful-avoidant adults tend to seek less intimacy, suppressing their feelings.

Sexually, securely attached individuals are less likely to be involved in one-night stands or sexual activity outside of the primary relationship, and more likely to report mutual initiation and enjoyment of sex.

Dismissive-avoidant individuals tend to report activities reflecting low psychological intimacy one-night sex, extra-dyadic sex, sex without love , as well as less enjoyment of physical contact. Research has demonstrated that for both sexes, insecure-ambivalent attachment was related to enjoyment of holding and caressing, but not of more clearly sexual behaviors.

Relationally, insecure individuals tend to be partnered with insecure individuals, and secure individuals with secure individuals. Insecure relationships tend to be enduring but less emotionally satisfying compared to the relationship s of two securely attached individuals. Attachment styles are activated from the first date onwards and impact relationship dynamics and how a relationship ends.

Secure attachment has been shown to allow for better conflict resolution in a relationship and for ones ability to exit an unsatisfying relationship compared to other attachment types. Secure individuals authentic high self-esteem and positive view of others allows for this as they are confident that they will find another relationship.

Secure attachment has also shown to allow for the successful processing of relational losses e. Two main aspects of adult attachment have been studied. The organization and stability of the mental working models that underlie the attachment styles is explored by social psychologists interested in romantic attachment.

The organization of mental working models is more stable while the individual's state of mind with respect to attachment fluctuates more. Some authors have suggested that adults do not hold a single set of working models. Instead, on one level they have a set of rules and assumptions about attachment relationships in general.

On another level they hold information about specific relationships or relationship events. Information at different levels need not be consistent. Individuals can therefore hold different internal working models for different relationships. There are a number of different measures of adult attachment, the most common being self-report questionnaires and coded interviews based on the Adult Attachment Interview.

The various measures were developed primarily as research tools, for different purposes and addressing different domains, for example romantic relationships, platonic relationships, parental relationships or peer relationships. Some classify an adult's state of mind with respect to attachment and attachment patterns by reference to childhood experiences, while others assess relationship behaviours and security regarding parents and peers. The early thinking of the object relations school of psychoanalysis , particularly Melanie Klein , influenced Bowlby.

However, he profoundly disagreed with the prevalent psychoanalytic belief that infants' responses relate to their internal fantasy life rather than real-life events. As Bowlby formulated his concepts, he was influenced by case studies on disturbed and delinquent children, such as those of William Goldfarb published in and He and Bowlby collaborated in making the documentary film A Two-Year Old Goes to the Hospital which was instrumental in a campaign to alter hospital restrictions on visits by parents.

In his monograph for the World Health Organization , Maternal Care and Mental Health , Bowlby put forward the hypothesis that "the infant and young child should experience a warm, intimate, and continuous relationship with his mother in which both find satisfaction and enjoyment", the lack of which may have significant and irreversible mental health consequences.

This was also published as Child Care and the Growth of Love for public consumption. The central proposition was influential but highly controversial. Over time, orphanages were abandoned in favour of foster care or family-style homes in most developed countries. Following the publication of Maternal Care and Mental Health , Bowlby sought new understanding from the fields of evolutionary biology, ethology, developmental psychology , cognitive science and control systems theory.

He formulated the innovative proposition that mechanisms underlying an infant's emotional tie to the caregiver s emerged as a result of evolutionary pressure.

He set out to develop a theory of motivation and behaviour control built on science rather than Freud's psychic energy model. Bowlby argued that with attachment theory he had made good the "deficiencies of the data and the lack of theory to link alleged cause and effect" of Maternal Care and Mental Health. Bowlby's attention was first drawn to ethology when he read Konrad Lorenz 's publication in draft form although Lorenz had published earlier work.

After recognition comes a tendency to follow. Certain types of learning are possible, respective to each applicable type of learning, only within a limited age range known as a critical period. Bowlby's concepts included the idea that attachment involved learning from experience during a limited age period, influenced by adult behaviour.

He did not apply the imprinting concept in its entirety to human attachment. However, he considered that attachment behaviour was best explained as instinctive, combined with the effect of experience, stressing the readiness the child brings to social interactions. Psychoanalytic concepts influenced Bowlby's view of attachment, in particular, the observations by Anna Freud and Dorothy Burlingham of young children separated from familiar caregivers during World War II. He called this the " cupboard-love " theory of relationships.

In his view it failed to see attachment as a psychological bond in its own right rather than an instinct derived from feeding or sexuality. Bowlby instead posited that several lines of development were possible, the outcome of which depended on the interaction between the organism and the environment. In attachment this would mean that although a developing child has a propensity to form attachments, the nature of those attachments depends on the environment to which the child is exposed.

From early in the development of attachment theory there was criticism of the theory's lack of congruence with various branches of psychoanalysis. Bowlby's decisions left him open to criticism from well-established thinkers working on similar problems. The philosopher Kenneth Craik had noted the ability of thought to predict events.

He stressed the survival value of natural selection for this ability. This internal working model allows a person to try out alternatives mentally, using knowledge of the past while responding to the present and future. Bowlby applied Craik's ideas to attachment, when other psychologists were applying these concepts to adult perception and cognition. An infant 's internal working model is developed in response to the infant's experience of the outcomes of his or her proximity-seeking behaviors.

If the caregiver is accepting of these proximity-seeking behaviors and grants access, the infant develops a secure organization; if the caregiver consistently denies the infant access, an avoidant organization develops; and if the caregiver inconsistently grants access, an ambivalent organization develops.

A parent 's internal working model that is operative in the attachment relationship with her infant can be accessed by examining the parent's mental representations. In the s, problems with viewing attachment as a trait stable characteristic of an individual rather than as a type of behaviour with organising functions and outcomes, led some authors to the conclusion that attachment behaviours were best understood in terms of their functions in the child's life.

Selection of the secure pattern is found in the majority of children across cultures studied. This follows logically from the fact that attachment theory provides for infants to adapt to changes in the environment, selecting optimal behavioural strategies. Securely attached Gusii infants anticipate and seek this contact. There are also differences in the distribution of insecure patterns based on cultural differences in child-rearing practices.

The biggest challenge to the notion of the universality of attachment theory came from studies conducted in Japan where the concept of amae plays a prominent role in describing family relationships. Arguments revolved around the appropriateness of the use of the Strange Situation procedure where amae is practiced. Ultimately research tended to confirm the universality hypothesis of attachment theory.

Critics in the s such as J. Harris , Steven Pinker and Jerome Kagan were generally concerned with the concept of infant determinism nature versus nurture , stressing the effects of later experience on personality.

Kagan argued that heredity was far more important than the transient developmental effects of early environment. For example, a child with an inherently difficult temperament would not elicit sensitive behavioural responses from a caregiver. The debate spawned considerable research and analysis of data from the growing number of longitudinal studies.

Subsequent research has not borne out Kagan's argument, possibly suggesting that it is the caregiver's behaviours that form the child's attachment style, although how this style is expressed may differ with the child's temperament. Rudolph Schaffer concluded that parents and peers had different functions, fulfilling distinctive roles in children's development. Mentalization, or theory of mind, is the capacity of human beings to guess with some accuracy what thoughts, emotions and intentions lie behind behaviours as subtle as facial expression.

Object relations models which emphasise the autonomous need for a relationship have become dominant and are linked to a growing recognition within psychoanalysis of the importance of infant development in the context of relationships and internalized representations.

Psychoanalysis has recognized the formative nature of a child's early environment including the issue of childhood trauma. A psychoanalytically based exploration of the attachment system and an accompanying clinical approach has emerged together with a recognition of the need for measurement of outcomes of interventions. One focus of attachment research has been the difficulties of children whose attachment history was poor, including those with extensive non-parental child care experiences.

Concern with the effects of child care was intense during the so-called "day care wars" of the lateth century, during which some authors stressed the deleterious effects of day care.

Although only high-quality child care settings are likely to provide this, more infants in child care receive attachment-friendly care than in the past. The English and Romanian Adoptees Study Team, led by Michael Rutter , followed some of the children into their teens, attempting to unravel the effects of poor attachment, adoption, new relationships, physical problems and medical issues associated with their early lives.

Studies of these adoptees, whose initial conditions were shocking, yielded reason for optimism as many of the children developed quite well. Researchers noted that separation from familiar people is only one of many factors that help to determine the quality of development. Authors considering attachment in non-Western cultures have noted the connection of attachment theory with Western family and child care patterns characteristic of Bowlby's time.

For example, changes in attitudes toward female sexuality have greatly increased the numbers of children living with their never-married mothers or being cared for outside the home while the mothers work.

This social change has made it more difficult for childless people to adopt infants in their own countries. There has been an increase in the number of older-child adoptions and adoptions from third-world sources in first-world countries. Adoptions and births to same-sex couples have increased in number and gained legal protection, compared to their status in Bowlby's time.

Principles of attachment theory have been used to explain adult social behaviours, including mating, social dominance and hierarchical power structures, in-group identification, [] group coalitions, and negotiation of reciprocity and justice. While a wide variety of studies have upheld the basic tenets of attachment theory, research has been inconclusive as to whether self-reported early attachment and later depression are demonstrably related.

In addition to longitudinal studies, there has been psychophysiological research on the biology of attachment. In psychophysiological research on attachment, the two main areas studied have been autonomic responses , such as heart rate or respiration, and the activity of the hypothalamic—pituitary—adrenal axis. Infants' physiological responses have been measured during the Strange Situation procedure looking at individual differences in infant temperament and the extent to which attachment acts as a moderator.

There is some evidence that the quality of caregiving shapes the development of the neurological systems which regulate stress. Another issue is the role of inherited genetic factors in shaping attachments: One theoretical basis for this is that it makes biological sense for children to vary in their susceptibility to rearing influence. As a theory of socioemotional development , attachment theory has implications and practical applications in social policy, decisions about the care and welfare of children and mental health.

Social policies concerning the care of children were the driving force in Bowlby's development of attachment theory. The difficulty lies in applying attachment concepts to policy and practice.

Zeanah and colleagues stated, "Supporting early child-parent relationships is an increasingly prominent goal of mental health practitioners, community-based service providers and policy makers Attachment theory and research have generated important findings concerning early child development and spurred the creation of programs to support early child-parent relationships.

Historically, attachment theory had significant policy implications for hospitalized or institutionalized children, and those in poor quality daycare. It is plain from research that poor quality care carries risks but that those who experience good quality alternative care cope well although it is difficult to provide good quality, individualized care in group settings.

Attachment theory has implications in residence and contact disputes, [] and applications by foster parents to adopt foster children. In the past, particularly in North America, the main theoretical framework was psychoanalysis.

Increasingly attachment theory has replaced it, thus focusing on the quality and continuity of caregiver relationships rather than economic well-being or automatic precedence of any one party, such as the biological mother. Rutter noted that in the UK, since , family courts have shifted considerably to recognize the complications of attachment relationships. Judgements need to take this into account along with the impact of step-families. Attachment theory has been crucial in highlighting the importance of social relationships in dynamic rather than fixed terms.

Attachment theory can also inform decisions made in social work , especially in humanistic social work Petru Stefaroi , [] [] and court processes about foster care or other placements. Considering the child's attachment needs can help determine the level of risk posed by placement options. Many researchers in the field were strongly influenced by it. Although attachment theory has become a major scientific theory of socioemotional development with one of the widest research lines in modern psychology, it has, until recently, been less used in clinical practice.

The attachment theory focused on the attention of the child when the mother is there and the responses that the child shows when the mother leaves, which indicated the attachment and bonding of the mother and the child. The attention therapy is the done while the child is being restrained by the therapists and the responses displayed were noted. The tests were done to show the responses of the child.

This may be partly due to lack of attention paid to clinical application by Bowlby himself and partly due to broader meanings of the word 'attachment' used amongst practitioners. It may also be partly due to the mistaken association of attachment theory with the pseudoscientific interventions misleadingly known as " attachment therapy ".

In , Bowlby published a series of lectures indicating how attachment theory and research could be used in understanding and treating child and family disorders. His focus for bringing about change was the parents' internal working models, parenting behaviours and the parents' relationship with the therapeutic intervenor. They range from individual therapy to public health programmes to interventions designed for foster caregivers.

For infants and younger children, the focus is on increasing the responsiveness and sensitivity of the caregiver, or if that is not possible, placing the child with a different caregiver. Some programmes are aimed at foster carers because the attachment behaviours of infants or children with attachment difficulties often do not elicit appropriate caregiver responses. Modern prevention and intervention programmes have proven successful. One atypical attachment pattern is considered to be an actual disorder, known as reactive attachment disorder or RAD, which is a recognized psychiatric diagnosis ICD F Against common misconception, this is not the same as 'disorganized attachment'.

The essential feature of reactive attachment disorder is markedly disturbed and developmentally inappropriate social relatedness in most contexts that begins before age five years, associated with gross pathological care.

There are two subtypes, one reflecting a disinhibited attachment pattern, the other an inhibited pattern. RAD is not a description of insecure attachment styles, however problematic those styles may be; instead, it denotes a lack of age-appropriate attachment behaviours that may appear to resemble a clinical disorder. It may also be used to refer to proposed new classification systems put forward by theorists in the field, [] and is used within attachment therapy as a form of unvalidated diagnosis.

As attachment theory offers a broad, far-reaching view of human functioning, it can enrich a therapist's understanding of patients and the therapeutic relationship rather than dictate a particular form of treatment. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. History of attachment theory. Reactive attachment disorder and Attachment disorder. Atlas personality Attachment parenting Attachment theory and psychology of religion Fathers as attachment figures Human bonding Nurture kinship.

A Simple Model of Infant-Mother Attachment

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The attachment behavior system is an important concept in attachment theory because it provides the conceptual linkage between ethological models of human development and modern theories on emotion regulation and personality.

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For example, the research influenced the theoretical work of John Bowlby, the most important psychologist in attachment theory. It could also be seen a vital in convincing people about the importance of emotional care in .

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Attachment theory has been generating creative and impactful research for almost half a century. In this article we focus on the documented antecedents and consequences of individual differences in infant attachment patterns, suggesting topics for further theoretical clarification, research, clinical interventions, and policy applications. Information about Bowlby Ainsworth Attachment Theory measurement and research from Everett Waters and colleagues at SUNY Stony Brook.

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Attachment theory has been applied to understand psychological disorders, such as depression, and can explain individual differences in responses to rejection. Research on autonomic nervous system activity to rejection experiences has been contradictory, with opposing strings of argumentation (activating vs. numbing). Understanding how the minds of children develop is a fascinating subject. Child development is a promising field for psychologists and leads to great insight into the ways in which human minds operate a young age.2/5(6).