How do Tony and Jo think their experiences of attachment and separation have affected them, and how does this relate to Bowlby's theory of attachment?

Essay by janeyangelladyUniversity, Bachelor'sB-, February 2006

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Advocates of attachment theory propose that it is our earliest

relationships and attachments that have the greatest bearing on our development

into adult life. Research suggests that the kind of attachments we experience in

childhood influence our development as adults. A qualitative, textual analysis was

conducted on two edited extracts from interviews with a married couple. This

qualitative report aims to show if and how their early experiences of separation and

attachment have a bearing on their understanding of who they are as adults.


John Bowlby is credited with formulating the first concise theory of

attachment In the late 1940's. He believed that having secure attachments affords

infants a secure base from which to explore fully the world around them, whilst

providing a source of comfort and guidance. He states that it is "essential to mental

health that an infant or young child should experience a warm, intimate and

continual environment with its mother."

(Bowlby, 1953, p.6)

Without these attachments, research conducted by Goldfarb (1947) on children

living in institutions, has suggested that infants have found it difficult to form

relationships and this has led to further problems both emotionally and socially in

their development as an adult.

At the heart of Bowlbys' theory of attachment is the establishment of the

"internal working model", (Bowlby, 1969); this being a combination of the beliefs

the child has formed of itself and its relationship with its mother (usually the primary

caregiver) and a critical time period for these attachments to form, usually from six

months to two and a half years. (Bowlby, 1951).

A child's internal working model is rooted in its' early experiences with its primary

caregivers. Bowlby argues that if these are positive experiences the child will have

a strong healthy model of others being responsive to his/her...