Definition of attachment
· A strong emotional bond that forms between infant and care-giver in the second half of the child’s
· One of the developmental milestones in the first year of life.
psychoanalytic theory ( Freud)
cognitive developmental theory (Piaget)
ethological theory (Bolby)
Four stages of attachment Schaffer (1996)
- Attachment in the
- Clear cut attachment
- Goal-corrected partnership
Explanation for waxing and waning of these
Growth of memory capacity
Growth of autonomy
methods to evaluate attachment
a. Strange situaton paradigm (Ainsworth)
Method to investigate the
nature and quality of the mother-infant attachment relationship.
1. secure attachment
2. insecure-avoidant attachment
insecure resistant attachment
insecure disorganized attachment (Main and Solomon,
B. Attachment Q-sorts (Vaughn and Waters 1990)
who the child is attached to
Ø Relative other than sibling
et al 1984
parents role in the quality of attachment
Ø Styles of care-giving
- Responsive to infants needs
- Consistently available to her
- Mother-infant interaction in
which the mother constantly adjusts her behavior to that of her baby.
- Responding to and respecting
his signals as to when he is ready for and wants engagement and interaction.
Other factors affecting attachment between parents and infants
Eg : Internal Working Models Bolby
Mental representations of person as a child and the nature of the interaction with parents.
Evidence of intergenerational continuity
Mother’s attachment relationships with her parents
E.g.: Fonagy, Steele and Steele
Enabled the investigators to rule out the
possibility that a parents current experiences with her baby was shaping her memories of their own childhood.
E.g.: Main, Kaplan and Cassidy
Mothers’ patterns of memories related
to the quality of the current attachment relationship.
Father’s attachment relationship with his parents
E.g.: Crowell and Treboux (1995)
fathers who viewed their attachment relationship with their parents
as secure more likely to develop a secure attachment relationship with their own infants.
Infant - temperement and its role in the quality of attachment
Some investigators have found
a link between certain temperament characteristics in infants and the kinds of relationships they develop with their parents.
Other investigators have failed
to find clear links between early-infant temperament and later infant-parent attachments
Stability in the quality of attachment
Attachment behavior is highly
stable from one period of time to the next
Change in attachment relationship
Consequences of attachment quality
A. Cognitive development
Relationship between pattern of early attachment and the way that an infant copes with new experiences during the next few years.
E.g.: Matas et al 1978
Early secure attachment appears
to be related to
Positive approach to problem
a more complex exploratory
behavior at age 2.
Securely attached infants likely to be more
attentive and participative in the classroom
E.g.: Reykjavik et al 1997
Quality of the whole attachment network
in infancy predicted the children’s scores on a test of intelligence scores when they were 5 years old
B. Social development
primary attachment relationships
become internalized by the child
the expectations of self and others become
generalized to form the blueprint for future interactions with others outside the primary attachment relationship (Sroufe,
Securely and insecurely attached infants
developed very different social and emotional patterns.
E.g.: Lyons-Ruth et al (1997)
Avoidant attached at 18 months were likely
to develop internalizing tendencies at age 7
disorganized attached at 18 months were
likely to develop externalizing tendencies
Attachment and internal
Casidy et al (1996)
attached 5 year olds
more likely to interpret a neutral even
as done with harmful intent than children with secure attachments.
Effects of attachment to
both parents or only one
Main and Weston (1991)
year old infants
securely attached to both parents = more
responsive to the clown
securely attached to neither = least sociable
with the clown.
c. Sense of self
· The awareness of the self as differentiated from other people.
effects of day-care
Ø negatively correlated with:
the sensitivity mothers express towards their children
the affection children show
to their mothers
Ø Other studies show that infants of working mothers are:
slightly more likely to be classified insecurely attached than those of nonworking mothers
but percentage is small.
Might be that the stress of
working and also raising a child that interferes with development of a strong attachment relationship.
Quality and stability of child-care
center staff important.