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Infant Mother Attachment And Eating Disorder Behavior

1837 words - 7 pages

Mary S. Ainsworth was fascinated in the association between infants and their mothers that she later coined the theory of infant-mother attachment. According to Ainsworth, there are three evident attachment patterns that will develop, secure, anxious and avoidant infants. Ainsworth felt it was substantially necessary for a child to transition out from a mother’s attachment and vulnerability to autonomy and independence as a factor in normal development in personality. One of the key points of Ainsworth security theory is that infants need to “develop a sense of direction and secure dependence on parents” before leaving the nest into a strange and unfamiliar situation (Bretherton, 1992). According to Ainsworth, “Familial security in the early stages is of a dependent type and forms a basis from which the individual can work gradually, forming new skills and interest in other fields.” “Where Familial security is lacking, the individual is handicapped by the lack of what might be a secure base” (Bretherton, p. 4, 1992).

Attachment theory and styles
“Attachment theory offers an additional developmental model that emphasizes the importance of caregivers’ responsiveness for the emotional adjustment of children” (Cheng & Mallinckrodt, p. 366, 2009).

Infant-Mother Attachment
To gain a better insight of attachment theory Mary S. Ainsworth developed a concept unfolding the underlying behaviors infants experience towards their mothers. Without a mother infant bond, insecure attachment can develop causing psychological and emotional stress. However, a maternal bond is needed for a healthy development in an infant, without the necessary mother infant bond negative behaviors can arise leading to difficulties in relationships, negative behaviors, and an anxious attachment beyond infancy caused by a lack of the care giving system. In order for children to thrive, infants need to experience healthy nurturing relationships with their mother or caregiver. Nevertheless, without a mother infant attachment bond the growth and development of personality would be non-existent to the infant or child. For the explanation if attachment, family factors do play an imperative role for positive development in a mother infant attachment bond. Studies show that an individual who has a healthy relationship with parent s will have a positive or nurturing relationship with their peers (Richters & Walters, 1991). Individuals who are alienated growing up are more prone to the development of eating disorders or self-harm behaviors that had negative experiences growing up in a house hold with conflicts, or the lack of socialization skills (Richters & Walters, 1992).

Relationship between attachment and eating disorders
Many theorists believe that family dynamics of those suffering from eating disorders may have contributed to their illness. For instance, anorexic families have sought to be closely related, with perfectionistic attitudes, and higher...

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