Bowlby 's Theory Of Attachment

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Perhaps the most influential explanation of attachment was presented by John Bowlby who began developing his ideas in the 1940s. Bowlby was commissioned by the World Health Organisation to investigate whether young children were likely to be harmed if they are separated from their mothers in the early years. (Hayes, 1996). Bowlby (1951) reported that infants possesses an innate need to attach to one main attachment figure (this was usually the mother). According to Hayes (1996), this is a special relationship which is qualitatively different from the relationship they form with any other kind of person. He described this as the process of monotropy; however, Bowlby did not deny that babies formed lots of attachments. (Bailey et al. 2008).…show more content…
Evidence of this came from his study of forty-four juvenile delinquents. (Hayes, 1996). His findings from this study proved that there is a correlation between maternal deprivation in babies and subsequent criminal behaviour in adulthood. Bowlby has been criticised by other academics. Michael Rutter (1981) argues that these problems are not due solely to the lack of attachment to a mother figure, as Bowlby claimed, but to factors such as the lack of intellectual stimulation and social experiences which attachments normally provide. (McLeod, 2007). Rutter (1970) in another study of a group of delinquents in the Isle of Wight found no connection between delinquent behaviour and separation from the mother. According to Buchannan (2013), Many feminists have taken issue with attachment theory, describing the attachment field’s prescriptive mothering role as unreasonable, the emphasis on mothering as politically motivated and the rational for focusing on mothering in isolation from context as patriarchal (Contratto, 2002; Morris, 2008).
Rudolph Schaffer and Peggy Emerson (1964) also formulated a theory of attachment based on their longitudinal study of 60 babies in Glasgow looking at the gradual development of attachments; they visited them monthly for the first year of their lives and returned again at 18 months. (Bailey et al. 2008). Similar to Bowlby’s research, Schaffer and Emerson also formulated four key stages of attachment and produced
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