Why have psychologists stressed the importance of attachment behaviours in development?

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Why have psychologists stressed the importance of attachment behaviours in development? Many theorists agree that social contact early in a child's life is important for healthy personality development. This is the most important relationship of the child development period as it is from this that the child drives its confidence in the world. A break from this relationship is experienced as highly distressing and constitutes a considerable trauma (Schaffer 1964). Through frequent social and emotional exchanges with parents the infant not only defines itself, but also acquires a particular style and orientation that some researchers believe is carried over into later life (Sroufe 1978). Therefore, the relationship between an infant and its caregiver and its development is one that has generated much interest to developmental psychologists. John Bowlby (1958, 1968) put forward a comprehensive account of attachment and believed that the infant and mother instinctively trigger each other's behaviour to form an attachment bond. Attachment can therefore be defined as ' the ability to form focused, permanent and emotionally meaningful relationships with specific others' (Butterworth & Harris 1994). In child psychology, attachm Continue...


Phase 4:- 9-12 months The elements of attachment listed above become integrated into a mutual system of attachment to which both infant and mother contribute. In conclusion, Bowlby's ideas and research provided a comprehensive basis for present day approaches to attachment. ent is often restricted to a relationship between particular social figures and to a particular phenomenon thought to reflect unique characteristics of the relationship ( Santrock Bartlett 1986). Findings showed that the infants formed multiple attachments with parents, grandparents and siblings, and also those who did actually took little or no care of the infants basic needs. ' Bowlby argued that different attachment behaviours, such as crying, following etc, are functionally related, in that all may lead to the same outcome - the caregiver-infant proximity (Sroufe 1991). The infant monkeys were placed in a cage with two, wire mesh, surrogate monkey mothers. One was covered with terrycloth fabric while the other was left as it was. Bowlby greatly influenced the way researchers thought about attachment. They would also jump on this when frightened. ' This reciprocal tie of mother and infant is a state that ensures care and protection during the most vulnerable period of development. The interaction goes through positive feedback on both sides until it becomes a conversation of visually perceived gestures.