Bowlby’s Theory

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BOWLBY’S THEORY Aim: to investigate the role of early attachment type and adult relationships Procedure: a ‘love quiz’ was placed in a local North American paper, in which people were asked to write into the paper by identifying three descriptions that best described their feelings/experiences about romantic relationships and to complete and adjective checklist which described their childhood relationship with their parents Findings: they found a correlation between infant attachment type and adult relationship type. Secure types demonstrated a belief in lasting love and were confident they were loveable and others were trustworthy. Anxious avoidant types didn’t believe in the idea of lasting love and anxious ambivalent types fell in love easily but rarely found ‘true love’ Conclusion: these findings support the continuity hypothesis and that those who had loving relationships with primary caregivers when younger are more likely to have loving relationships with partners in later live Strength: there is a lot of evidence to support the idea of the continuity hypothesis. Bowlby’s theory is supported by evidence from his study of 44 Juvenile Thieves where he found that children who had been separated from their mother during the first 3 years of their lives due to hospitalization or similar, were more likely to suffer mental health disturbances and be diagnosed as ‘affectionless psychopaths’ Weakness: Schaffer and Emerson(1964) suggested that children tend to develop multiple important attachments rather than just the unique bond with the mother. They found that by the age of 7 months, 29% of the infants studied had already formed several attachments to various people, and by 18 months, 87% of them had attachments to more that one person, with over a third having 5 or more attachments figures. This goes against Bowlby’s theory of monotropy. Lamb

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