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...