Compare And Contrast Bowlby And Erikson's Attachment Theory

Developmental theories are commonly utilized to provide a framework for understanding children’s behavior (Miller, 2011). Among these theories are John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory and Erik Erikson’s theory on psychosocial development. Bowlby’s Attachment theory explains how children develop an attachment to another individual. The term attachment is described as a dynamic relationship that is formed through the experience of interactions with others (Miller,
2011). On the other hand, Erikson’s theory proposes that children experience a universal set of crises as they develop an identity throughout their lifespan (Miller, 2011). This paper will compare Bowlby’s Attachment Theory and Erikson’s theory on the positions they take on the
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An organismic worldview is characterized by viewing humans as active, organized wholes that actively learn new skills as they mature and engage with the world.
Furthermore, the organismic worldview focuses on universal laws of behavior and development.
In contrast, the contextualist worldview focuses on the idea that children’s patterns of development vary across and within each culture (Miller, 2011). More specifically, a contextualist worldview emphasizes that a child’s historical-context places specific goal-directed activities that are necessary for the timeframe and environment in which they are living.
Bowlby’s theory emphasizes an organismic worldview on human nature, whereas Erikson’s theory emphasizes a contextualist worldview.
In Bowlby’s theory, an emphasis on an organismic worldview can be seen in the concept of adaptation, (Miller, 2011). Adaptation is reflective of an organismic worldview as it describes

how children and other species actively learn and change their behaviors in order to increase their survival. One specific way in which adaptation occurs is through signaling behaviors.
Children are able to adapt to their environment and form an attachment to their caregiver
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Both Bowlby’s and Erikson’s theory include quantitative and qualitative attributes when describing developmental changes. However, both theorists emphasize qualitative developmental changes in their theories.
Attachment theory highlights qualitative changes as it explains that children express different behaviors as the child matures and develops. As previously noted, signaling behaviors are used by children to draw adults to approach them and thus provide opportunities to form an attachment (Miller, 2011). When analyzing signaling behaviors that children use as they develop and mature, qualitative changes are evident. For example, infants use crying or smiling to entice an adult to come close in proximity. However, as infants physically mature, signaling behaviors also change. This young child may now start crawling towards his mother and talking as signaling behaviors (Miller, 2011). In this context, there are no observable gradual changes.
Instead, there are spontaneous changes from facial expressions (i.e. smiling and crying) to motor skills (i.e. crawling) in the signaling behaviors that children utilize.
Similar to Bowlby’s theory, it is evident that Erikson’s theory emphasizes

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