John Bowlby Attachment Theory

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John Bowlby’s 1953 attachment concept Attachment is a strong emotional relationship between two persons, characterised by mutual affection and a desire to maintain proximity (Black, 1992, p.148). During the 1950’s and early 1960’s John Bowlby, a psychiatrist and pioneer in the study of attachment, published a series of papers based on extensive research on mother child attachments and separations. These papers, later enlarged and refined, were published into three volumes, and have provided the impetus for much scholarly research and discussion. Bonding refers to the strong emotional tie from the mother or father or primary caregiver to the infant, usually thought to occur in the early days or weeks after delivery. Attachment, which emerges gradually during the first year and may be an outgrowth of the parent/infant bond, is a strong emotional relationship directed from the infant to the parent or some other significant person. It is based on the quality of the interactions between the child and the parent or caregiver (Black, 1992). Bowlby believed that an infant and its primary caregiver form an attachment. He argued that the newborn is biologically equipped to elicit attachment behaviour. The baby cries, clings, coos, and smiles. Later the infant crawls, walks, and follows the mother. The infant’s goal is to keep the primary caregiver nearby. (Santrock, 2002). Bowlby proposed a sequence for the development of attachment between the infant and others. The sequence is divided into four phases: indiscriminate responsiveness to humans, focusing on familiar people, active proximity seeking and partnership behaviour. (Black, 1992). In phase 1 the infant is aged 0-12 weeks. During this phase infants orient to persons in their environment, visually tracking them, grasping and reaching for them and smiling and babbling. The infant will often cease

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