Bowlby Attachment Theory

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In Bowlby’s formulation of attachment theory, he presented a very specific set of propositions regarding the way in which early experiences contribute to an understanding of both normal and psychopathological development (Sroufe, Carlson, Levy & Egeland, 1999; Blatt & Levy, 2003). At the core of his theory is the conceptualisation of attachment as a pattern of organised behaviour within a relationship, rather than a trait that infants have in differing quantities (Egeland & Carlson, 2004; Sroufe, Carlson, Levy & Egeland, 1999). Early experiences of the way in which behaviour is organised in the parent-child or primary caregiver-child relationship are significant and have long-lasting effects that are persistent across the lifespan and are among…show more content…
These patterns, in combination with temperament, context, and experience, become the basis for cognitive strategies, interpersonal interactions, and social relationships and can determine psychological health or pathology (Ward, Lee & Polan, 2006; Blatt & Levy, 2003; Sroufe, Carlson, Levy & Egeland, 1999).

Attachment theory states that the original parent-child or primary caregiver-child relationship is as important as eating and sleeping and children have an evolutionary bias to behave in ways that enhances proximity to their caregivers (Alexander & Anderson, 1994). Ainsworth and colleagues conducted a series of experiments involving separation and reunion between mothers and infants called the “Strange Situation” experiments (Fonagy, 1998). As a result of these studies, two broad categories of responses defined the areas of secure versus insecure attachment (Fonagy, 1998). Within insecure attachment, anxious and avoidant types were observed (Fonagy,
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