How Has Bowlby’s Original Formulation of Attachment Theory

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Bowlby’s (1946) original formulation of attachment theory drew upon both psychoanalytic and ethological theory and generated a significant amount of subsequent research. The core principle behind Bowlby’s theory was that the formation of a stable, healthy attachment with a caregiver in the early years of life is the key for an infants’ future emotional, social and cognitive development. Bowlby explained that this primary attachment relationship develops because infants need a mechanism to ensure survival. Attachment is therefore an adaptive behaviour which ensures the infant receives food, security and a safe base from which to explore the world. Several innate behaviours have evolved in order to elicit caregiving such as crying and …show more content…

Children become upset when their mother leaves but are easily comforted on return. The IWM of a child who is securely attached will be that they are worthy of love and affection and the child will gain comfort from this when separated from their attachment figure. These children will more readily accept contact with a stranger as they have positive expectations of social interactions. This attachment type is associated with sensitive parenting.

Type C children are defined as being insecurely attached or anxious ambivalent. They do not use the mother as a secure base and reject strangers. The child becomes distressed at separation and seeks contact on reunion, but then rejects it. These children become very distressed by their mothers’ absence which suggests that they lack definite belief of her return or that she will be able to provide appropriate comfort if she does. However, the child’s distress also suggests that the mothers’ presence is important. Type C children behave ambivalently on reunion, seeking contact and reaction but angrily rejecting it when it is offered. Such children appear unable to comfort themselves and seem to expect not to find appropriate comfort from either their mother or a stranger indicating a negative expectation of interaction with people. Here, the child’s reactions suggest that their IWM is such that they feel unworthy of affection and that when they are upset, their mother cannot comfort them. Type A