Different Characteristics Of Ainsworth's Contribution To Attachment Theory

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Register to read the introduction… They describe the following attachment and parenting styles:

1. Secure attachment – Uses the mother as a “secure base” in which to explore the environment. Child shows distress at separation but returns to good humour when attachment object returns. Parenting style for this attachment is caring, loving and responsive to the child’s needs.

2. Resistant attachment – This child shows ambivalence in relationship to attachment object. Child displays anxiety and does not explore its environment easily. Child becomes more distressed at separation and has ambivalent reaction upon return of the caregiver. They stay close to their caregiver but do not necessarily show affection. Closeness is more a sign of uncertainty rather than anything else. Parenting style for this attachment is non-responsive and conflicting attitudes to the child.

3. Avoidant attachment – These children show a lack of interest in their caregiver. They are not too concerned with whether they are there or not. Do not explore their surroundings with much interest and show little affection. Parenting style is rejecting, dismissive or intrusive and overly
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Dis-organised-disoriented attachment – This attachment style is a combination of both resistant and avoidant. The child displays confusion at whether to seek attention from the caregiver or to avoid it. These children do not appear to have a clear sense of how to behave around the caregiver indicating an uncertainty of the response they will receive. Fear may be a large component of this uncertainty. Parenting style is either frightening or frightened.

Bowlby believed that children who suffer repeated separations from caregivers might withdraw from forming relationships as a result. Sigelman and Rider (2006), state that Thomas O’Conner and colleagues named a 5th attachment style. This attachment style, dis-inhibited, applied to some children who for various reasons, such as being institutionalised for more than the first six months of life, showed behaviours such as being friendly to anyone or emotionally withdrawn.

Research suggests that securely attached children carry this into their later years becoming more open to exploration, having more emotionally rewarding lives/relationships and being more independent. Insecurely attached children are more likely than securely attached children to display negative emotions such as fear or anger, have psychological problems later in life and have difficulty in social

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