Bowlby’s Ethological Theory of Attachment

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There are several theories of attachment, today I would like to discuss the most widely accepted of them; Bowlby’s Ethological Theory of Attachment (Berk p.196). Bowlby’s theory focuses on the importance of the infant-care giver bond in development of infants from birth to 24 months. Bowlby’s theory divides attachment on the first 2 years into 4 phases (Berk p. 196-197); • The first phase takes place from birth to approximately 6 weeks of age and is referred to as the Preattachment Phase, as the name suggests the infant has not developed any actual attachments to anyone, the child recognizes his/her mother, but is not yet attached. This is evident by the fact that the child does not mind being left in the care of an unfamiliar individual. During this phase the infant uses instinctive signals such as; grasping, smiling and crying to get the attention of those around them. • In phase two, “the attachment in the making phase”, the infant begins to act differently to familiar and unfamiliar individuals. This phase occurs from 6 weeks until approximately 6-8 months of age. During this phase infants develop a sense that their actions elicit a reaction from their caregiver and begin to expect responses from their caregiver. Though they begin to trust in these reactions, they still are not officially attached. • From 6-8 until somewhere between 18-24month, infants enter into phase three also is known as the “clear-cut” attachment phase. During this time there should be evidence in the infant’s behavior of attachment to their primary care givers. This attachment is proved by the serration anxiety that is experienced by most infants this age, it seems that it is at its worst somewhere between 6 and 15 months. Just like adults, all infants react differently in different situations and this is no different, some infants do not experience separation anxiety while
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