* Bowlby was influenced by Freud and Lorenz (
* He believed that attachment is innate and
* We are all born with a need to form
* In line with Darwins theory on natural selection
* any behaviour that helps you survive to
maturity and reproduce yourself will be
maintained in the gene pool. In human terms,
the newborn infant is helpless and relies on its
mother for food, warmth etc. Similarly the
mother inherits a genetic blueprint that
predisposes her to loving behaviour towards
the infant.
* Bowlby believes that attachment promotes survival in 3
* Safety: the attachment keeps mother and child close to each
other. Separation results in feelings of anxiety.
* Safe base for exploration: the child is happy to wander and
explore (necessary for its cognitive development) knowing it
has a safe place to return to if things turn nasty. This also
develops independence necessary in later life.
* Internal working model: This was based on Freud’s idea of
the mother-child relationship acting as a prototype fro all
future attachments. Bowlby believed that this first
relationship forms a template or schema that gives the child
a feel for what a relationship is.
* Sensitive period: Bowlby believed that there was a
period in development where a child is more likely
to develop an attachment (4-6th month)
* Irreversible: The attachment can’t be broken once
* Social Releasers: the child has built in mechanisms
for encouraging care-giving behaviour from
parents. Children have ‘baby faces’ and their
noises and facial expressions such as smiles
encourage contact.
Babies’ smiles are powerful things
mothers spellbound and enslaved. Who
can doubt that the baby who most
rewards his mother with a smile is the
who is best loved and best cared for?’
Bowlby 1957.
* The internal working model ensures that early
attachments are reflected in later relationship
types. For example, a secure attachment as a
child leads to greater emotional and social
stability as an adult, whereas an insecure
attachment is likely to lead to difficulties with
later relationships.
* There has been a debate about whether or not
children create one or more attachments
* Bowlby didn’t actually believe that only 1
attachment was formed
* What he did believe was that there was only
one primary attachment which didn’t
necessarily mean the mother
* Other theorists claimed that a child will
benefit from having more than one attachment
* An example would a child's attachment with
his/her Father
* In Caribbean and European culture, infants
seem to form many equally important
attachments to different people.
* Bowlby (1969) claimed that there was a
hierarchy of attachments, with a primary
caregiver, usually the mother at the top. The
Efe, an African tribe, share the care of their
children so that women in the village breast
feed each another’s children. However, the
infants still go on to form their primary
attachment with their biological mother.
* Bowlby appears to focus to much on the Mother
and not enough on the Father
* Additonally Bowlby seemed to overlook the
relationships the child develops with its
brothers and sisters. Schaffer (1996) describes
these as horizontal relationships as opposed to
the vertical relationships with parents,
teachers and other adults
* Breaking of bonds in early life leads to
intellectual, social and emotional problems in
later life. Note, by ‘maternal’ it is usually
assumed that Bowlby meant mother
figure. Bowlby originally believed the effects
to be permanent and irreversible
* Later studies have shown that many of the
effects of early deprivation can be
overcome. They are not so permanent and
irreversible as Bowlby seemed to assume
* Children reared in institutions were not only
separated from parents they were also kept in
relatively poor conditions. This is likely to
have added to the effects
* Deprivation: where an attachment can be
broken temporarily (through hospitalisation) or
through death
* Privation: Where a child has been treated so
badly that they have never been able to form
an attachment
* Bowlby did not distinguish between the two
* Recent studies however suggest:
* 1.
Deprivation and privation are distinct,
believing that the long term consequences of
privation are far more severe than the long term
consequences of deprivation.
* 2.
Children are generally far more resilient to
early separation than Bowlby originally
proposed. Bowlby himself later changed his views
adopting this line.
* Thank You

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