Attachment theory comes out of the work of John Bowlby. However, it finds its genesis in Freud’s Psychoanalysis. Bowlby himself was trained in psychoanalysis and became a qualified practitioner in the approach. In his early 20s, however, before he enrolled in medical school or in the Institute of Psychoanalysis, he worked with children with behavior problems. These two forces, these experiences, perhaps formed the foundation and later development of his Attachment Theory.
Spurred on by the number of children separated from their parents during World War II, Bowlby became interested in the interaction between caretaker and child, and what impact the character of that dynamic had on the development of either healthy or pathological behavior.
His study of the subject led him to propose that attachment behavior was an evolutionarily mandated survival strategy for protecting the infant from threats, and that the characteristics and quality of that early relationship have long-lasting relational consequences. Unlike Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory, however, Bowlby did not find its locus in sexual development; rather, he formed his theory of development around the dynamics of the early relationship between child and primary caregiver, which in most cases is the biological mother.
Mary Ainsworth, a student of Bowlby, played a critical role in expanding on this theory. Their collaboration led to their proposing that there were several different attachment ‘styles,’ and that these styles had direct consequences for the child that could be predicted and categorized. Ainsworth later developed the Strange Situation Procedure, which was a way of assessing differences in attachment behavior.
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...ors with this style. Children who exhibit the ambivalent style of attachment are at high risk for depression and other internalizing disorders. They often report feelings of vulnerability, anxiety, and tentativeness. Their introverted personalities often elicit peer rejection, and when they do form relationships, they exhibit the need for an inappropriate level of attention. A child who demonstrates a disorganized style of attachment is at high risk for developing a host of pathologies. They may act in unpredictable ways, and have difficulty explaining their experiences in a coherent narrative. They may have great difficulty in regulating their emotions, and as a result may engage in antisocial or inappropriate behavior. Children who demonstrate this kind of attachment style are at high risk for a constellation of internalizing and externalizing maladaptions.
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