Outline and Evaluate Bowlby’s Theory of Attachment (12 Marks)

462 Words2 Pages
Bowlby was very much influenced by Lorenz’s (1935) study of imprinting which showed that attachment was innate and therefore has a survival value - during the evolution of humans it would have been the babies who stayed close to their mothers who would have survived to have children of their own. In turn, Bowlbys evolutionary theory of attachment suggests that children come into the world biologically pre-programmed to form attachments with their main caregiver – usually the mother – in order to survive, this is known as monotropy. According to this babies instinctively seek proximity to their mother figures; hence they display social releaser behaviours, e.g. crying when in contact with a stranger, in order to stimulate care from mother. Forming this attachment provides a safe base, giving babies the confidence to explore, therefore Bowlby suggested that this initial attachment relationship acts as a prototype for all future social relationships so disrupting it during the critical period (first 2 1/2 years) can have severe consequences on the childs development. There are a number of case studies that support Bowlbys theory. Sroufe (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 counsellors at special events arranged for the children. At the end of the experiment, Sroufes results showed that those children who were rated as being securely attached in infancy were also rated as being more popular, having more initiative and being higher in social competence as well as self-confidence. This indicated that social competence was linked with early attachment style, supporting Bowlby's views of the long-term benefits of attachment. As a result of its strengths Bowlbys theory been applied to the real world, influencing
Open Document