Psychological Attachment Style of Children

Essay by summonCollege, UndergraduateA+, October 2008

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Attachment StyleI)Attachment is defined as the "strong, affectionate tie we feel for special people in our lives." (Berk, 264) These special people allow us to feel comforted when distressed and also allows us to gain pleasurable experiences through interaction with them. In terms of infant attachment, the "special people" is the infant's primary caregiver, most often the mother. As an infant forms a deep emotional connection and relationship with his or her primary caregiver, the infant is able to feel comfort, pleasure, and safety in the company of the primary caregiver. The strong emotional bond that forms causes the infant to become distressed when the caregiver is not in the infant's presence. Likewise, the infant will also become comforted and joyful in the presence of the caregiver. Psychoanalyst John Bowlby was the first apply the ethological theory of attachment in terms of infant-caregiver bond. This theory explains how the deep emotional bond that an infant shares with his or her caregiver ensures greater chance of survival.

This disproved how the infant-parent relationship was based on feeding.

There are 4 different styles of attachment that are discussed in the text. Through the observation of infant responses using Ainsworth's "Strange Situation", psychologists and researchers identified a secure attachment pattern and three patterns of insecurity.

The first is the secure attachment style. Infants who exhibit a secure attachment use their parent or primary caregiver as a secure base. The secure base allows the infant to explore and experience the environment and then return to the secure base for comfort and emotional support. As a result, infants who are securely attached do not experience significant distress in the absence of the caregiver. Although the infant may or may not cry, the infant usually cries out to seek comfort from the parent rather...