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Attachment Theory

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❶Children need consistent, secure emotional relationship with their primary caregiver so as to grow and develop feeling safe, protected and nurtured.

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Divorce, parental disharmony, and family violence all have been consistently associated with child behavioural and emotional problems Brendgen, Such conditions are overlapping and numerous studies have shown children of divorce to have more problems than those in intact families Harris, It is the case that behaviour problems often precede the divorce Fraley, and that parental conflict is consistently found to be a stronger predictor of child maladjustment than marital status.

Family violence has also been found to be associated with child pathology and numerous studies have documented a relation between a history of peer rejection and later maladjustment, both externalizing and internalizing problems Pickover, Research has confirmed that infants with histories of secure attachment with their primary caregivers later are characterized by more effective self-regulation Sroufe, Those with anxious attachment histories have problems of one kind or another.

Insecure attachment systems have been linked to psychiatric disorders, to which a child is especially susceptible after the loss of an attachment figure Fraley, Children with insecure attachment patterns develop the inability to form secure attachments and react in a hostile, rejecting manner with their environment Field, Severe attachment disorders cause the child to get close to an attachment figure, and then pull away before they can be rejected or they deem themselves unworthy in the eyes of the attachment figure Field, Children with secure attachment patterns are capable of forming new attachment relationships while maintaining their current relationship with their parents Weiss, Insecure children focus all of the attention on achieving a better relationship with their parents, therefore making it difficult to form new attachment relationships Weiss, According to attachment theory, interactions with inconsistent, unreliable, or insensitive attachment figures interfere with the development of a secure, stable mental foundation; reduce resilience in coping with stressful life events; and predispose a person to break down psychologically in times of crisis Geiger, Attachment insecurity can therefore be viewed as a general vulnerability to mental disorders, with the particular symptomatology depending on genetic, developmental, and environmental factors Elliot, Brendgen, reviewed hundreds of cross-sectional, longitudinal, and prospective studies of both clinical and non-clinical samples and found that attachment insecurity was common among people with a wide variety of mental disorders, ranging from mild distress to severe personality disorders and even schizophrenia.

Consistently results reveal that attachment insecurities of both the anxious and avoidant varieties are associated with depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD Brendgen, Attachment insecurity is also a key feature of many personality disorders; however the specific kind of attachment insecurity differs across disorders Trowell, Anxious attachment is associated with dependent, histrionic, and borderline disorders, whereas avoidant attachment is associated with schizoid and avoidant disorders Trowell, Another related issue concerning the associations between attachment insecurities and psychopathology is the extent to which attachment insecurities are a sufficient cause of mental disorders, such separation anxiety and pathological grief, in which attachment injuries are the main causes and themes, attachment insecurities are unlikely to be sufficient causes of mental disorders.

Many studies of large community samples have found no association between avoidant attachment and self-report measures of global distress, however, studies that focus on highly stressful events, such as exposure to missile attacks, living in a dangerous neighborhood, or giving birth to a handicapped infant, have indicated that avoidance is related to greater distress and poorer long-term adjustment Allen, It has been noted that the association between attachment insecurity and depression is higher among adults with a childhood history of physical, psychological, or sexual abuse.

People exposed to stressful life events; poverty, physical health problems, and involvement in turbulent romantic relationships during adolescence also strengthen the link between attachment insecurity and psychopathology Harris, Attachment insecurities seem to contribute nonspecifically too many kinds of psychopathology Trowell, however; particular forms of attachment insecurity seem to predispose a person to particular configurations of mental disorders.

If attachment insecurities are risk factors for psychopathology, then the creation, maintenance, or restoration of a sense of attachment security should increase resilience and improve mental health. According to attachment theory, interactions with available and supportive attachment figures impart a sense of safety, trigger positive emotions and provide psychological resources for dealing with problems and adversities Trowell, Takahashi, believed that parents should not be totally held responsible for the way their child develops.

They should be held responsible to a point, because after all, they did give them their genes and they do have some influence. Children rely more on their social group in the shaping of their personality and development of psychopathology Also, Field argue that the mother is not always the primary attachment figure, so it cannot be assumed that she always will be. The causal links between attachment and psychopathology are also complicated and research findings show that psychological problems can increase attachment insecurity Pickover, Insecure people are likely to be overly self-critical, plagued by self-doubts, or prone to using defenses, such as destructive perfectionism, to counter feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness Allen, According to attachment heory, recurrent failures to obtain support from attachment figure interfere with acquisition of social skills and create serious problems in interpersonal relations Field, Children learn these things from their peers because they want to fit in Harris, If a child is brought up in a crime-ridden area, they will be predisposed to committing these same kinds of crimes Klaus, because of the high rate of peer pressure and because they want to fit in to the group.

Even if the parents try to bring up their children the best way possible, chances are that if they associate with delinquents, they will become ones, but if you take a child headed down the wrong path and move him to new environment, chances are he will get himself on the right track, because he is trying to fit in with a new peer group Harris, Children will not use everything that they learned from their parents.

In some social settings, these lessons may not be correct or embarrassing to use. Children learn how to behave, for the most part, from other people in their social group. Adults do the same; they act more like people in their social groups rather than their parents.

Children from the same parents reared in the same home are no more alike than if they were raised in separate homes.

Even if parents try to raise two children the same way, they will still behave differently from each other Harris, The model attachment is based on behaviors that occur during momentary separations stressful situations rather than during no stressful situations Elliot, How children and mothers interact together and not stressed shows more of how the attachment model works than how the child acts when the mother leaves and then returns.

Children have attachments to other people other than their mothers, but they do not show this attachment the same way Geiger, The mother is viewed as the primary attachment figure, when in fact; a father or sibling can have the same type of attachment with the infant at the same time. This relates to adults having more than one principal attachment, such as to their spouse and child Trowell, Attachment insecurities are associated with a wide variety of mental disorders, ranging from mild negative affectivity to severe, disorganizing, and paralyzing personality disorders.

Evidence suggests that insecure attachment orientations are fairly general pathogenic states. Although many of the research findings supporting these ideas are co-relational, several studies show a prospective connection between attachments References Allen, J. Journal of Adolescence, 24, Attachment and exploration in adulthood.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, Attachment and separation in young children. Annual Review of Psychology, 47, According to Simpson , attachment relationships often develop within the first 6 months of life and are the avenues within which positive feelings, communication and play are expressed.

Secure attachment is associated with effective dependence which directly promotes effective independence. Research by Simpson reported that, compared to their counterparts, securely attached children were more capable of regulating their emotional distress. They were more easygoing, caring, empathetic and socially competent. Children who enjoy healthy forms of attachment are, therefore, capable of forming more positive relationships with their parents, teachers, siblings, and pears.

Secure attachment enables children to develop less anxious personalities hence are healthily dependent and more capable of performing well in cognitively challenging situations. It adversely affects their mental, behavioral, and emotional development.

Insecurely attached children have limited abilities to explore their environments in healthy ways hence turn out to be apprehensive, disorganized, and anxious due to the rejecting, hostile or inconsistent attention to their needs. Additionally, insecure attachment has been associated with hostility towards other children, unhealthy dependency during school years, vulnerability to issues of peer pressure, and higher degrees of self-doubt.

Attachment indubitably affects children in terms of cognition, behavior, emotional responses, personality, and social skills.


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Next the essay will evaluate the theories of attachment between a child and their parents/guardians, evaluating Bowlby’s theory of attachment, and using examples from Freud’s ‘cupboard love theories’ and behavioural and psychoanalytic perspectives in comparison to Bowlby.

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Attachment Theory essaysTo begin to understand the attachment theory one must first understand and have a clear definition of what attachment is. From my point of view attachment is a lasting, secure and positive bond between a child and a caregiver, a reciprocal relationship.

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This free Psychology essay on Essay: Bowlby's attachment theory and Paiget's cognitive theory is perfect for Psychology students to use as an example. Sep 28,  · Running Head: ATTACHMENT THEORY Attachment Theory: A Bond for Specific Others Abstract Attachment theory is the joint work of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth that examine a special emotional relationship that involves an exchange of comfort, care, and pleasure.

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According to attachment theory and research, lack of parental sensitivity and responsiveness contributes to disorders of the self, characterized by lack of self-cohesion, doubts about one’s internal coherence and continuity over time, unstable self-esteem, and over-dependence on other people’s approval (Allen, ). The Attachment Theory Essays Words | 8 Pages. The Attachment theory is a psychological, ethological and evolutionary theory that gives a descriptive and explanatory framework of understanding interpersonal relationship between human beings.