Bowlby argued that attachment was an "evolved mechanism;" an innate response that ensured the survival of the child. Bowlby argued that the first attachment between a baby and its caregiver provided the child with an internal working model. This is referred to as the continuity hypothesis and it gives the child an idea of themselves as lovable (or not) and of other people as trustworthy (or not.) Bowlby suggested the idea of monotropy in his attachment theory; the idea that an attachment to a single caregiver provides the experience of an intense emotional relationship and forms the basis of the internal working model; it is the schema a child has for forming future relationships, both socially and personally. He also described social releasers; sucking, smiling, crying and cuddling.
Bowlby claimed that infants need one special attachment relationship that is qualatively different from all others. Lastly, the internal working model which is developed through the monotropic attachment. This model represents the infant’s knowledge about his/her relationship with the primary attachment figure, in other words, the mother. It generates expectations about other relationships, so whatever relationship the mother has formed with their child, whether she is kind and loving, or aggressive and uncaring, the child will develop and have this expectation in mind of all future relationships. For example, Hazan and Shaver (1987) showed that there is a link between early attachment experiences and later romantic relationships.
According to Bowlby (1973) a strong emotional bond between the mother figure and the infant called attachment has the biological origin. He hypothesised that for the baby to survive, it has to for an attachment, it needs to have a secure base, from which it can explore the environment and in times of danger or distress, a base it can return to for comfort and security. Bowlby argued that lack of such a secure base leads to infant developing an extreme distress called by developmental psychologists a 'separation anxiety'. The research by Robertson and Robertson (1989) into parent-child separations when either a primary caregiver or a child becomes hospitalized validates Bowlby's reasoning. This idea of attachment as innate adaptation mechanism is also supported by Harlow's (1958) research on primates into maternal deprivation.
In addition he suggested the idea of monotropy, which is the suggestion that infants tend to direct attachment behaviours towards a single attachment figure, and that there is one special bond and this is typically between a mother and its child. The attachment being two ways is very important, and Bowlby believed that both parties should find satisfaction and enjoyment from the relationship. He suggested that babies are born programmed to behave in ways that will make attachments easier to form, for example they will display behaviour that encourages attention from adults, these include smiling and cooing etc. These are known as social releasers because the point of
He called this idea monotropy. He stated that the infant has only one primary caregiver to whom the child will form an attachment. However this idea has been contradicted by other psychologists who say that a child can form attachments to more than one person, for example to their mother as well as their father. A key feature of Bowlby’s theory is that the attachment formed as a child provides the child with an internal working model of relationships, which will in turn guide relationship behaviour in the future. A secure child will develop a positive internal working model of itself because of the sensitive emotional care it has received from its primary caregiver.
Attachment theory, as postulated by John Bowlby, sought to achieve just that. Bowlby's aim was to discover the consequences of difficulties in forming attachments in childhood, and the effects this would have on an infant's later development. Drawing on much work in the psychoanalytic literature, such as that of Freud and Harlow, Bowlby formulated the idea that infants develop a close emotional bond with an attachment figure early in life, and that the success or failure of this earliest of relationships lead the infant to form a mental representation that would have profound effects on their later relationships and their own success as a parent. A concept that Bowlby referred to as an internal working model. (Bowlby, 1969) Fonagy et al.
John Bowlby’s theory of Attachment John Bowlby is an evolutionary psychologist within the filed of developmental psychology. His theory provides an evolutionary perspective towards attachment combining Freud’s views on the importance of the maternal care (psychoanalytic approach) and the ethnologists’ views on imprinting. Bowlby’s theory suggested that attachment is an innate and adaptive process. An infant is genetically programmed in a way for survival and has been ascribed skills such as sucking, grasping, crying: known as “social releasers”. Bowlby believed that a mother has similar genetic coding that allows her to react instinctive to, and respond to her infants needs.
For example if a child has insecure attachments as a child, this would lead to be shown in difficulties with later relationships. In bowlbys theory, attachment being innate, means that the child has built mechanisms known as ‘social releasers’ which encourages care-giving behavior from parents for example the
In this paper Bowlby's theory of attachment and child care will be outlined along with additions from other theorists such as Rutter and Ainsworth. From this we will see how the evolution of the family unit since 1950s has been affected by such theories along with welfare policy and social theorists which have influenced family life and child care practices in the UK. Bowlby described attachment as the bond that develops between a baby and its primary caregiver. It is characterised by the interaction patterns which develop in order to fulfil the infants' needs and emotional development. Bowlby noted the apparent distress in children separated from their mothers in unusual circumstances e.g.
Bowlby's aim was to discover the consequences of difficulties in forming attachments in childhood, and the effects this would have on an infant's later development. Drawing on much work in the psychoanalytic literature, such as that of Freud and Harlow, Bowlby formulated the idea that infants develop a close emotional bond with an attachment figure early in life, and that the success or failure of this earliest of relationships lead the infant to form a mental representation that would have profound effects on their later relationships and their own success as a