Attachment is an emotional bond that is from one person to another. The attachment theory is a psychological, an evolutionary and an ethological theory that is concerned with relationships between humans, specifically between mother and infant. A young infant has to develop a relationship with at least one of their primary caregivers for them to develop socially and emotionally. Social competence is the condition that possesses the social, emotional and intellectual skills and behaviours, the infant needs these to success as a member of society. Many studies have been focused on the Western society, but there are many arguments to whether or not this can be applicable to other cultures, such as the poorer countries.
John Bowlby was the first attachment theorist, he describes attachment as a “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings” (Bowlby, 1969, p.194), he believed that the earliest bonds that were formed between child and caregiver has a huge impact that continues throughout the infants life. Attachment is said to help keep the infant close to their mother, so it improves the child’s chance of survival.
Bowlby described there being four phases into the development of attachment, this was extended by their being a fifth phase added to it. Phase 1 is said to be when the infant orientates and signals without discriminating people. Phase 2 is when the child orientates and signals to at least one or more discriminated persons. This then marks the first sign of attachment. The child will be more likely to smile and interact more towards their mother or another caregiver. This is normally shown between the ages of 5-7 months.
Phase 3 the infant will crawl to the person or will return in different periods for contact or will cry or protest if the person leaves, this is called separation protest. This is normally from the age of 7-9 months. In phase 4 a partnership starts to occur between the child and their caregiver, and the child will start to accommodate to the mother’s needs. Phase 5 suggests that when the child is of school age they will start to show affection, trust and approval within the relationship with the caregiver.
Ainsworth’s research looked at Bowlby’s and expanded it. In her study called the strange situation (Ainsworth, 1978), she revealed profound effects of attachment on behaviour. The study observed children between the age of 12 and 18 months old, as they responded to a situation where they were left alone for a brief amount of time and then they were reunited with their mothers. The study involved seven short episodes that took place in a small room. The episodes were the mother and infant were in the room, the infant will explore the room for 3 minutes, and the stranger then enters the room and sits with the mother for 1 minute, and then starts to play with the infant. The mother then leaves the room and the stranger continues to play with the infant, the mother then returns and the stranger leaves the...