Bowlby’s theory of attachment

Mind Map by danny-hudson97, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by danny-hudson97 almost 6 years ago


A Levels Psychology (Unit 1 - Attachments) Mind Map on Bowlby’s theory of attachment, created by danny-hudson97 on 04/06/2014.

Resource summary

Bowlby’s theory of attachment
1 Bowlby believed that an attachment promotes survival in 3 ways;
1.1 1) Safety
1.1.1 The attachment keeps mother and child close to each other. Separation results in feelings of anxiety.
1.2 2) Safe base for exploration
1.2.1 The child is happy to wander and explore (necessary for its cognitive development) knowing it has a safe place to return to if things turn nasty. This also develops independence necessary in later life.
1.3 3) Internal working model
1.3.1 Bowlby believed that this first relationship forms a template or schema that gives the child a feel for what a relationship is. It uses this in future years to develop other relationships and is particularly important in determining the parenting skills in later life.
2 Sensitive period
2.1 Being innate Bowlby believed there would be a period in which they were most likely to develop, similar to the critical period for imprinting
2.2 Unlike a critical period, a sensitive period suggests a time when they are most likely to occur. Bowlby believed that for the human infant this was between the fourth and sixth month. After this it becomes ever more difficult for the child to form a first attachment.
3 Social releasers
3.1 Being innate the child has built in mechanisms for encouraging care-giving behaviour from parents. Children have ‘baby faces’ and their noises and facial expressions such as smiles encourage contact. It seems that adults are genetically primed to respond to these releasers by offering care and affection
4 Continuity hypothesis
4.1 The internal working model ensures that early attachments are reflected in later relationship types. For example, a secure attachment as a child leads to greater emotional and social stability as an adult, whereas an insecure attachment is likely to lead to difficulties with later relationships
5 Irreversible
5.1 Once made the attachment cannot be broken.
6 Monotropy
6.1 Bowlby, who was in the ‘one’ camp of attachment, did not actually believe that only one attachment was formed, rather that there was only one primary attachment
6.1.1 The ‘many attachments’ approach believes there are many attachments and that they are all similarly important to the child.
6.2 Thomas (1998)
6.2.1 Children will benefit from a variety of attachment styles provided by different caregivers, so for example an attachment to a father figure will provide benefits to the child that a mother alone could not provide
6.3 Bowlby (1969)
6.3.1 There was a hierarchy of attachments, with a primary caregiver, usually the mother at the top.
6.4 Schaffer and Emerson’s
6.4.1 Glasgow babies study found that nearly a third of infants had five or more attachments by the age of 18 months.
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