Outline and Evaluate Bolby's Theory of Attachment

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Mai YongsakulPsychology: ATTACHMENTFriday 1 st October 2010Mr. Smith OUTLINE & EVALUATION OF BOWLBY'STHEORY John Bowlby's theory was more evolutionary based. He proposed that attacment wasimportant for survival – infants are physically helpless and need adults to nurture, care andprotect 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 bornwith an intrinsic tedency 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 helpedthem 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 wasconsidered to have a long-term benefit in addition to the short-temr beneifit of ensuring foodand safety. In the long term, it could be fundamental importance for emotional relationshipsbecause 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 thedevelopment does not take place during the set developmental period that attacments weresupposed to happen – this would then result in the infant making no attachment to a carer atall. It is believed that if a child does not form an attachment before the age of 2.5 years, then itwould 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 theage of 12 months to adolescence. They were observed throughout their childhood by teachers,trained observers
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