Research into attachment suggests that child-parent bonds are critical and influence later life in many aspects such as cognition, behaviour and social skills. An attachment is “an enduring emotional bond which an individual forms to another person” (Bowlby, 1977, p 82). According to Ainsworth, “it is essential for an infant to become attached to a mother figure to increase their chances of no developmental issues in later life” (Ainsworth, 1979, p.82)
The main theory of attachment was proposed by John Bowlby; a British psychologist famous for his work within child-parent bonds. He proposed that our behaviour is a result of evolution; children are born dependent on a caregiver for food, warmth, shelter and safety. Babies have developed certain behaviours to ensure that an attachment is made to a caregiver called social releasers. This includes gurgling, smiling and laughing which releases positive emotions and an adult will give the child attention. Distressed signals such as crying makes the caregiver want to alleviate these which improves and builds on a strong bond with the child. Bowlby suggested that this attachment between an infant and their caregiver must be formed within a critical period which is between birth and 2.5 years old. If an attachment isn’t formed within this time frame, then there is a chance that it will not develop at all and this could impact on the child’s later development.
Bowlby’s theory of attachment is supported by ethological theory; infants who have close proximity with their mothers have an increased chance of survival. Konrad Lorenz (1952) investigated this theory with baby goslings. He hatched two groups of eggs, one group stayed with their natural mothers and the other were hatched in an inc...
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...years, hostility towards other children at 5years and dependency during school years (Calkins and Fox, 1992). From this line of evidence, it can be concluded that securely attached children have an advantage in their later life in school, friendships and mental health.
In conclusion, evidence suggests that the attachment style a child attains from birth with a primary caregiver massively influences later life. It has been suggested that a secure attachment will enhance the child’s development in later life and allow them to build relationships with other individuals in the future. On the other hand, insecure attachments aren’t preferred in western cultures as they can create a sense of worthlessness and depression. How a caregiver interacts with a child will influence the type of attachment the child will have to them which in turn has an effect on their later life.
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