Attachment Theory By Bowlby And Ainsworth Essay

994 Words Nov 17th, 2016 4 Pages
Infants depend on their caregivers to foster a nurturing environment in which they can develop a secure representation of self, others and the world. Attachment theory, developed jointly by Bowlby and Ainsworth, describes the multiple ways an infant can emotionally attach to their primary caregiver (Bretherton 1992). Bowlby explained that innate behaviors of infants, such as clinging, sucking and following, promote the formation of secure attachment between the infant and mother when the mother responds to these cues appropriately (Bretherton 1992). Building on Bowlby’s work, Ainsworth contributed to the understanding of attachment by developing the first empirical method for its measurement, the Strange Situation (Bretherton 1992). From her observations, Ainsworth created a three-category model of infant attachment security, including secure attachment, and two classifications of insecure attachment: avoidant and ambivalent (Bretherton 1992). Later, Main expanded the model to include a fourth category: disorganized attachment (Bretherton 1992). During the Strange Situation, the infant’s reaction to the return of the mother after a short period of separation determines the child’s attachment security (Bretherton 1992). The infants who displayed distress when the mother left and subsequently were able to be calmed by the mother upon return were considered securely attached (McLeod 2008). Those who were upset by the mother’s departure, sought contact from her upon her return,…

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