ATTACHMENT THEORY

John Bowlby (and Mary Ainsworth)

Presentation By: Breana Draudt

OBJECTIVES PURPOSE
v  Purpose of the theory development v  Bowlby: To study attachment and
and selection effects of deviations from
v  Historical context of authors and attachment
theory
v  Draudt: To determine applicability of
v  Structural elements
Attachment Theory to
v  Analysis using Barnum’s criteria
v  Utility to research and practice
psychological well-being and

v  Applicability to psychology well being relationship quality in homeless
and relationship quality in homeless adolescents
adolescents

htm v  Said to be one of the top 4 most influential people in psychology this century .psicoterapiaintegrativa. upper middle class family v  Spent an average of 1 hour with his mother per day v  Grieved the loss of one of his nannies v  Father was a surgeon. 1907 to September 2. 1990 v  4th of 6 children. encouraged Bowlby to attend medical school •  Attended medical school and later became interested in psychiatry http://www.com/ therapists/htms/John_Bowlby. JOHN BOWLBY v  February 26.

1999 v  Notable contributions to Attachment Theory v  Studied bonding and attachment in Uganda before the formal presentation of Attachment Theory v  Proposed some of the major concepts of Attachment Theory: Patterns of Attachment and Secure Base .famouspsychologists. 1913 to March 21.org/mary-ainsworth/ v  December 1. MARY AINSWORTH http://www.

acquired through its association with the reduction of primary drive (Ainsworth)) Singer and Prebisch’s theory v  Object-Relations Theory (“object” of an instinct is the agent through which the instinctual aim is achieved.” the ability of one to control her environment (Waters)) v  Dependency Theory (Learned drive. and the agent is usually conceived as being another person” (Ainsworth)) Greenberg and Mitchell 1983 . INFLUENCES: THEORIES v  Control Systems Theory (“A control system is a means by which a variable quantity or set of variable quantities is made to conform to a prescribed norm.

Bowlby attended medical school v Ethology: Study of animal behavior. He believed that current psychoanalytic theory did not describe the bond between an infant and his/her parent . Heavily influenced by Harlow’s rhesus monkeys and Lorenz’s study of avian species v Psychology: Bowlby was educated in psychoanalysis after medical school. INFLUENCES: DISCIPLINES v Medicine: Bowlby’s father was a surgeon.

Patterns •  Insecure •  Secure Figures Functions •  Maternal •  Sensitivity Deprivation •  Comfort Behaviors Attached •  Early Interaction Person Attachment •  Internal Working Models CONCEPTS .

vision. a bond that is biologically rooted in the function of protection from danger”’ (Mooney. 2010) .org/FamilyMatters/ bid/36390/Beyond-Attachment-Theory an intense and enduring affectional bond that the infant develops with the mother figure. attachment is conceptualized as http://familymatters. ATTACHMENT “ The dimension of the infant-caregiver relationship involving protection and security regulation. Within this theoretic framework.

T H E A T T A C H M E N T B E H AV I O U R A L S Y S T E M ( H O L M E S. 1 9 9 3 ) .

but not always. “The condition in which an individual is linked emotionally with another person. 1988).com/ blog/is-your-baby-crying/ . smiling. 1993) Examples: Crying. clinging.lilomaternity. someone perceived to be older. ATTACHMENT BEHAVIORS “Attachment behaviour […] refers to any of the various forms of behaviour that the person engages in from time to time to obtain and/or maintain a desired proximity” (Bowlby. usually. vocalizing http://www. stronger and wiser than themselves” (Holmes.

THE EVOLUTION OF ATTACHMENT BEHAVIOR Holmes. 1993) INFANCY Babyhood Latency Adolescence Adulthood •  Maternal •  Attachment •  Relationship •  Internal World •  ‘thinking’ about Handling Pattern Style ‘thinking’ •  Self-other representation .

ATTACHMENT PATTERNS v  Secure Attachment: v  Anxious Ambivalent: •  Emotionally open and straight •  Insecure forward •  Show mixed emotions to caregiver when •  Accept comfort and protection distressed from caregiver when distressed •  Periods of helplessness and passivity. neurological illness . or fear •  From available. rejecting. punitive caregiving. predictable and sensitive caregiving •  Explores surrounding but concerned with proximity v  Anxious Avoidant: •  From unpredictable/impulsive caregivers.g. aggression. need to escape •  From consistent distant. tics physical abuse •  From prolonged isolation. neglect •  Insecure •  Suppress or hide negative emotions v  Disorganized: •  Avoid eye contact •  Insecure •  Use toys as distraction •  Confusing mixture of conflicting-need to seek proximity vs. emotional/ •  May have abnormal body movements e.

illinois.edu/~rcfraley/attachment.psychology. VISUAL MODEL OF ATTACHMENT PATTERNS http://internal.htm .

nourished physically and emotionally.umn. which can allow an individual to learn things that may increase survival . comforted and reassured. This allows for non-attachment behaviors such as exploration. ATTACHMENT FUNCTIONS v  Proximity Maintenance allows the person to stay close to and resist separation from the attachment figure v  Safe Haven Behavior provides reliability on the attachment figure for support and comfort http://blog.-detach.lib.edu/vanm0049/myblog/ 2011/12/attach-vs.html v  A Secure Base is an environment provided by the attachment figure from which a child/adolescent can return knowing that he will be welcomed.

Ainsworth emphasizes interaction within the first 9 months of life v  Sensitivity of the mother to her child’s needs. described as a parenting style that facilitates secure attachment. v  Early Interaction between infant and mother considered important for secure attachment. part of “secure base” v  Comfort is the mother’s ability to soothe a distressed child. also part of “secure base” v  Internal Working Models •  From Cognitive Psychology •  Higher animals need a map of the world in the brain to predict. control and manipulate their environment through thoughts •  Environmental and organismal models that tell us about ourselves in relation to the world . OTHER CONCEPTS v  Attachment Figure: one with whom another person (in the original context an infant/child) is attached v  Maternal Depravation: Term from Bowbly’s earlier work describing the process of an infant losing or being deprived of its mother.

D E V E L O P M E N T A L PA T H WAY S F R O M M A T E R N A L D E P R I VA T I O N ( H O L M E S . 1 9 9 3 ) .

patterns of attachment. infant/child . ASSUMPTIONS/STATEMENTS v  Assumptions not explicitly stated •  Psychological bonds exist •  Attachment Behaviors exist •  Patterns of Attachment exist •  Attachment Figures exist (usually mother) v  Statement importance not prioritized explicitly •  I interpreted some of the assumptions as existential statements (above) •  Relationship statements among attachment. attachment behaviors. attachment figure.

which compromises consistency of original terms. a synthesis of information may that explains the theory parsimoniously is needed v  Consistency •  terms are used consistently •  delineates terms that may be misunderstood or have been misunderstood •  Attachment Theory has recently been applied to relationships other than parent/ child. no single definitions •  the relationship between attachment and mental health are clearly explicated •  Bowlby wrote the theory in a trilogy of lectures. EVALUATION: INTERNAL CRITICISM v  Clarity •  concepts are difficult to discern. meanings . but overall clearly described •  concepts are further separated into sub-concepts which are described several ways.

misunderstandings) •  Work continues to be done. specifically with measurement and expanding the applicability . the idea was radical and unproven. EVALUATION: INTERNAL CRITICISM v  Adequacy •  the theory fulfills it’s purpose •  further refinement and clarification may be necessary (e. today extensive literature supports its premises •  Conclusions seem logical.g. synthesis of information) •  the subject matter is well accounted for v  Logical Development •  Developed from several theories and disciplines •  Refined with input from Ainsworth and clarified in response to critique •  In early development. argument was considered overstated given the available evidence during the original development. v  Level of Theory Development •  Well developed through several revisions (in response to critique.

Attachment Theory addresses a phenomenon experienced by nurses . nursing v  Significance •  Mental illness is a significant problem •  Although intent was not necessarily to be useful to nursing. very reality-based •  Considered a middle-range theory (possibly high middle range given increasingly broader applicability) v  Utility •  Applied extensively to research and practice in psychology and outside of the discipline including social work. EVALUATION: EXTERNAL CRITICISM v  Reality Convergence •  Attachment is needed for human development •  Kettle suggests that attachment belongs in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs •  Theory builds on existing work.

which clouds the boundaries v  Scope: High middle range with “gushy” empirical testability and applicability •  Ethics of true empirical testability. Micro level factors •  Mediators and Moderators discussed in later revisions . boundaries gray •  nursing interventions can influence attachment behaviors. EVALUATION: EXTERNAL CRITICISM v  Discrimination •  borrowed from psychology. Meso. retrospective studies possible •  Highly applied v  Complexity •  Relatively few concepts. well described although lacking concision •  Factors influencing attachment are multidimensional and complex •  Macro. not unique to nursing.

nurture •  Too strongly accepts nurture are causative factor for mental illness •  Does not account for genetic predisposition to mental illness v  Mentions “attachment figures” but does not describe the differences in attachment between parents (particularly mothers) and other individuals to which one can be attached . OTHER CRITICISM v  Strongly focused on the maternal-infant bond •  Inadequately describes paternal-infant bond •  Implicitly blames mothers for children’s mental illness + takes responsibility away from fathers •  Feminists objected to Bowlby’s use of biology “to justify what is essentially a cultural product of our own ‘patriarchal but father-absent’ society” Leupnitz (1988) v  Nature vs.

UTILITY IN RESEARCH AND PRACTICE Research Practice v  Psychosomatic Illness v  Guides clinical psychology •  Chronic Pain v  Applied to psychiatric mental health •  Cardiovascular Disease and women and infants nursing v  Relationships v  Head start v  Nurse-Patient relationship + Patient v  Custody cases Outcomes (e. adherence) v  Child sexual abuse.g. child maltreatment v  Foster care v  Extensive research in psychology •  Developmental psychopathology •  Cognitive Psychology •  Psychoanalysis .

NEWER AND FUTURE APPLICABILITY v  May be more broadly applied with additional research studying attachment in situations other than parent/child •  nurse/patient •  adolescent peer •  romantic couples •  attachment and loss at end of life v  Newly applied to psychosomatic illness .

which can also be applied to psychological well being and relationship quality in homeless adolescents . A P P L I C AT I O N T O P R E S E N T E R ’ S R E S E A RC H -Bowlby studied homeless children and adolescents •  Wrote a report on mental health in homeless children in post-war Europe for the World Health Organization (WHO) -Several researchers apply Attachment Theory to their research with homeless youth including Tavechhio.org/who_we_serve -Effective at providing a framework to understand psychological well being and relationship quality in relation to childhood attachment in homeless adolescents -New research leading to further applicability to peer relationships. Taylor-Seehafer. and Whitbeck http://johma.

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