Dictionary Definition Of Attachment, Strain And Labeling Theory Portsmouth University Essay

1792 words - 8 pages

Write a dictionary definition on three topics.
The psychological theory of attachment was first established by British psychologist John Bowlby (McLeod, 2008). Bowlby described attachment as a ‘lasting psychological connectedness between human beings.’ (McLeod, 2008) A profound, and long lasting emotional connection that ties one person to another person over the course of time and space. Bowlby believed that attachment starts from infancy and lasts a life time, arguing that there are a number of innate behavioural control systems required for survival as well as procreation. Mary Ainsworth developmental psychologist expanded on the theory of attachment. Her research identified three styles of attachment (Cherry, 2009).
Distinctive Features
Bowlby established the control systems, he suggested that from birth infants are already biologically pre-programmed and have an innate ability to form attachments with their caregivers (McLeod, 2017). He argued that the first attachment was central to constructing the Internal Working Model (IWM). A cognitive frame work that Bowlby deemed responsible for understanding the world around them, the relationship they have with themselves and the friendships and relationships they form with others (Willerton, 2010, p. 43). The IWM framework comprises of three components.
1. A model of self.
2. A model of the mother figure
3. A model of the relationship between the two.
Bowlby maintained that the development of a healthy IWM was essential for mental health and psychological adjustment in adulthood. IWM was considered the blueprint that would shape and influence all future friendships and relationships. Ainsworth explored this idea further using the strange situation methodology, a structured method of observation to evaluate the quality of attachment, proposing that infants could have different attachment types based on the behaviour of the caregiver. The criteria’s used to assess attachment were separation/stranger anxiety, reunion behaviour and a willingness to explore the environment (Willerton, 2010, p. 43). The children were then observed through a one way mirror and based on the behaviours observed when the primary caregiver left the room and a stranger entered and then studied the reaction from the child when the primary caregiver returned. The infants were then categorised as an attachment type. Ainsworth (Cherry, 2009) discovered three distinctive patterns of behaviour and referred to them as attachment types. Type A insecure-avoidant, type B secure attachment and Type C insecure-ambivalent. Since Ainsworth’s research, Main and Solomon (1990) cited in (Willerton, 2010, p. 45) identified an additional type, recognised as type D disorganised or disoriented attachment. While it is noted that the relationship between infant and caregiver is vital for secure attachment, attachment theory by its very definition ostracises the role that genetics plays in an infant’s social and emotio...


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