John Bowlby's Attachment Theory And Theories

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John Bowlby (1907 – 1990) was a British psychologist most known for his work developing Attachment Theory. Bowlby initially graduated in 1928 at age 21 from Trinity College at Cambridge going on to gain various postgraduate degrees. Bowlby spent most of his early career working with children at various institutes such as the London Child Guidance Clinic where he worked as a psychiatrist. It was not until 1946 that the beginnings of his theory were laid down when he joined the Tavistock Insititue, researching the effects on young children when separated from primary caregivers (Encyclopædia Britannica, 2016). Bowlby’s work was gradual with his theory slowly developed with three main papers published in 1958, 1960 and 1963 that outlined his Attachment Theory (Holmes, 1993).

This theory revolves around the relationships formed between an infant and their caregivers from birth to age three. More recent examinations of Bowlby’s theory by Psychiatrists such as Holmes (1993) summarise it as, in essence, a spatial theory, meaning, it is based on the development of relationships between infant and caregiver is dependent on proximity from each other. The idea of a relationship built on proximity is outlined in three key factors of Proximity Seeking, the ‘Secure Base’ Effect and Separation Protest. These factors are Bowlby’s foundation for a relationship between infant and caregiver arising from a mixture of innate human nature and learnt behaviours from the environment around the
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