Describe and Evaluate Bowlby’s Theory of Attachment Essay

560 WordsDec 1, 20133 Pages
Describe and evaluate Bowlby’s theory of attachment Bowlby’s theory of attachment argues that attachment is adaptive and innate. He believes that infants are all born with an innate need to form attachments because they enable survival. He states that attachment promotes survival in 3 ways; Proximity to an adult provides safety (for example, protection against predators, food and warmth etc.), it provides a secure base for exploration (and fosters cognitive development and independence) and the internal working model (a schema that gives the infant a basis for future relationships). He also states that infants will form one bond that is more important than all others (Montrophy) and this is linked to the continuity hypothesis. Because attachment is innate Bowlby believed that there is a ‘sensitive period’ for forming attachments and he believes that the first attachment must be achieved by 7 months of age or it will become ever more difficult to form an attachment. He also believed that infants have built in mechanisms for encouraging care-giving behaviour from parents (social releasers). The ‘cute baby face’, facial expressions (such as smiling) and crying encourage contact. There are many studies and experiments that are in support of Bowlby’s theory of attachment, one is the study conducted by Hazan and Shaver (1987) in which they gave adult participants 2 questionnaires. One was to determine their early relationships with their parents and the second was to determine their adult romantic attachments. The study found that those who had difficult relationships with their parents tended to have difficulty in their adult romantic relationships and those that had good relationships with their parents had better romantic relationships as adults. However, this study is flawed. For one the researchers assume that the difficulty in adult romantic relationships is
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