What Does Insecure Attachments? Infancy And Early Childhood Matter For Later?

What Does Insecure Attachments? Infancy And Early Childhood Matter For Later?

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To what extent do insecure attachments in infancy and early childhood matter for later
development?

Attachment was first theorised by John Bowlby in his book; The Nature of the Childs Tie to His Mother (1958). Bowlby proposed that attachment was a evolutionary response to ensure survival (McLeod, 2007). This is demonstrated as infants will seek proximity and contact in times of stress or threat, we use this attachment figure as a safe base whilst we explore our surroundings (Killen & Coplan 2011). The individual to whom we attach however is not a biological response, it is instead a learned response as the primary caregiver is often the figure of attachment (Martin et al 2013). This attachment is defined as “a social and emotional bond between caregiver that spans space and time” (Martin et al, 2013, P. 462). It is this bond that establishes attachment as a critical development point for relationships, as our future relationships can be influenced by the quality of this first prototype. Following this attachment theory was further developed by Mary Ainsworth and her renowned experiment; the strange situation (1978). The purpose of the strange situation was to assess the quality of an infants attachment, this was achieved by observing the behaviour infants display when exposed to stranger and separation anxiety. Ainsworth et al concluded that infants displayed three separate types of attachment. Secure attachment is the favoured result, a child will show a preference to be with the mother as opposed to the stranger and will display distress when left with the stranger (Martin et al 2013). The remaining two attachment types are both insecure attachments; insecure ambivalent and insecure avoidant. These two types of attachment rep...


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... others is guided by expectations from this internal model. There are 3 main features of the internal working model: (1) a model of others as being trustworthy,(2) a model of the self as valuable and (3) a model of the selfs ability to interact with others (McLeod 2007). These 3 features are influenced by attachment type, if the individual is securely attached they will follow the model as described. However insecure ambivalent individuals will show tendencies to be angry and confused and insecure avoidant individuals will display signs of rejection and perceive themselves as unloved which are directly linked to the characteristics of the attachment types devised in the strange situation (Martin et al 2013). This establishes that our relationships are indeed built upon our attachment and that being insecurely attached puts us at risk of being emotionally and socially

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