Describe and Evaluate Bowlbys Theory of Attachment

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Bowlby’s evolutionary theory of attachment suggests that children come into theworld pre-programmed to form attachments with others as this will help them tosurvive. His theory consists of five clear factors that were linked to the developmentof attachment from an infant to its primary care giver; usually the mother. Firstly hestates that attachments are “adaptive” which means the child is at an advantageto survive as it ensures safety and food in order to reproduce. Bowlby states thatchildren are born with innate social releasers such as laughing, crying and attractivefacial features including big cheeks and large eyes which provide them with extracare and comfort. It is important for the infant to form a bond with its caregiverwithin a certain period of time, also known as the critical period. The critical period isusually 3 and half years to form an attachment; after this period the child may nolonger be able to form an attachment and therefore will be mentally, physically andemotionally damaged. Furthermore it was Bowlby’s beliefs that infants form anumber of attachments but must have a special attachment to one individual,otherwise known as a “monotropy”. This is a relationship which is different from otherbonds which may determine future relationships; also known as the Internal workingmodel that could be negative or positive depending on its relationship with itsprimary caregiver. It generates what is expected in future relationships, for instance ifthe child is brought up in a negative aspect, it will have a negative impact on itsfuture relationships. Hazan and Shavers study found that adult’s romanticattachments were closely linked to their infant attachments. Securely attachedinfants tended to have secure romantic relationships whereas insecure primaryattachments lead to aggressive and untrustworthy relationships. This study supportsthe internal working
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