Describe and Evaluate One Explanation of Attachment 18 Marks

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John Bowlby's theory was more evolutionary based. He proposed that attachment was important for survival – infants are physically helpless and need adults to nurture, care and protect them in order for them to grow. Without this assistance, they would not survive. Therefore, it is likely that human beings had been evolved in such a way that infants were born with an intrinsic tendency to form an attachment in order to increase their chances of survival. On the other hand, adults/ the care-givers of an infant too develop an attachment to them. Bowlby suggested that all human beings had some sort of innate programming which helped them form attachments – adults would have a drive for helping the infant to survive: caring, nurturing, feeding them etc. The bond/attachment between the care-giver and infant was considered to have a long-term benefit in addition to the short-term benefit of ensuring food and safety. In the long term, it could be fundamental importance for emotional relationships because it would provide a template for those relationships. However there is the concept of a ‘critical period' which is a feature of biological characteristics. The 'critical period' was when the development does not take place during the set developmental period that attachments were supposed to happen – this would then result in the infant making no attachment to a carer at all. It is believed that if a child does not form an attachment before the age of 2.5 years, then it would not be possible thereafter. There are a number of case studies that show evidence supporting Bowlby's theory. Sroufe et al (1999) conducted an experiment in which he followed a group of children from the age of 12 months to adolescence. They were observed throughout their childhood by teachers, trained observers and camp counselors at special events arranged for the children. At the end of the

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