Attachment Theory Essay

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ID CODE: 1009 1. Applying Theoretical Models: Attachment Theory The origins of Attachment Theory are credited to both John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth (nee Salter). Although separated by the Atlantic ocean-Bowlby a graduate of Cambridge university and Salter a graduate of Toronto university both recognised a respective need for very young children ‘to develop a secure dependence on parents(caregivers) before launching out into unfamiliar situations’.(Inge Bretherton 1992). However, before Mary Ainsworth arrived in London (about 2 years previously) Bowlby employed James Robertson. The reason for this appointment was that Robertson had gained some expertise in the observation of children who were separated from their parents or caregivers. Apart from James Robertson and eventually Mary Ainsworth (Strange Situation),there were other contributors to Bowlbys’ now famous three papers: ‘The Nature of the Child’s Tie to His Mother’(1958), ‘Separation Anxiety’ (1959), and ‘Grief and Mourning in Infancy and Early Childhood’ (1960) - Mary Boston, Dina Rosenbluth and Rudolph Schaffer are just some of the ‘other contributors’. Below I have listed my own interpretation of Bowlby’s four key components of attachment. Safe Haven: If the child feels under threat or is fearful of a situation, he or she can return to the safety and reassurance of the caregiver. Secure Base: The caregiver gives the child a secure starting point to explore the outside world. Proximity Maintenance: The child endeavours to stay within a distance of safety to the caregiver. Separation Distress: Separation from the caregiver will cause the child to become anxious and distressed. Consequently I believe Mary Ainsworth enhanced Bowlby’s theories with her ‘Strange Situation’ (1978) study which in turn ‘revealed the profound effects of

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