Attachment Theory and the Mother-Infant Relationship Essay

1567 Words Feb 5th, 2007 7 Pages
In the first third of our course we studied the intense, complex relationship a mother has with her offspring. In order to fully understand this bond, three concepts must be understood: the emotional nature, the adaptive strategy, as well as the relationship's pros and cons. However, for the purpose of this paper, I will be focusing on the mother-infant relationship as an adaptive strategy primates developed, with emphasis on attachment theory. The root of the mother-infant relationship as well as a child's development can be linked to John Bowlby's theory of attachment. Bowlby, a British psychoanalyst, developed the theory after running a study in which he attempted to understand the intense distress experienced by infants who had …show more content…
Ainsworth also interviewed the mother in order to learn more about her parenting style as well as her experiences growing up with her own mother. She came to the conclusion that three types of children exist—those who are secure in their relationship with their parents, those who are anxious-resistant, and those who are anxious-avoidant. She demonstrated that the infants began to convey "consistently different patterns of distress" (on separation) and protest (upon reunion with their mothers (Shaw, 414). Similarly, the mothers displayed "very consistent patterns of interactions" with their infants while free playing during the laboratory introduction sequence, as well as patterns of comforting the infant on reunion (Shaw, 414). Ainsworth correlated these patterns with infant-parent interactions in the home during the first year of life. For example, children who appeared secure in the strange situation typically had parents who were responsive to their needs while the insecure children often had parents who were insensitive or inconsistent in the care they provided (Fraley, 2).
The intense, complex relationship between a mother and her infant is so influential
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