Many psychologists/ researchers have published theories
which suggest, for a child to successfully develop they must have a healthy
attachment to a parent. It is suggested that by possessing a secure attachment
to a primary caregiver contributes to developing not just physical wellbeing
but a child’s psychological development. This theory of attachment originated
from a study which observed young gosling shortly after hatching. In which this
was to be suggested as the critical period. It was found that the goslings
attached / imprinted onto the first moving object they saw, whether it was the
biological mother or not. Therefore, suggesting that animals have a social
instinct to imprint onto the first thing they see (Konrad Lorenz, 1935). Lorenz
suggested that attachment was innate in animals and so this influenced the
psychiatrist John Bowlby to conduct one of the worlds most famous theories
“Theory of Attachment”, as he believed human attachment would also be
instinctive. This theory applied to the knowledge of relationships between
infant and a parent suggesting that this relationship is critical for development.
Bowlby believed this to be true as he conducted a study to see whether there is
a correlation between maternal deprivation and criminal behaviour in adulthood.
Forty-four juveniles answered a questionnaire and were interviewed, where the
results showed that seventeen out of the forty-four thieves experienced maternal
deprivation when they were a child. Primarily it was a case where they
experienced a poor or no relationship at all with their mothers. With the
mother seen as the primary caregiver Bowlby theorised the primary attachment
relationship creates proximity seeking behaviour and provides an ‘Internal
working model’ of relationships. The internal working model is a set of conscious
and unconscious cognitive rules resulting from early interaction in an
infant/child.  The internal working model
is created through the monotropic attachment which is a special mental schema
for relationships and the infant’s future adult relationships. The monotropy is
the stage at which the infant forms a special, intense attachment with their mother,
however other attachments do form but it is considered in this instance the
mother provides the most important bond. Also, Bowlby’s ‘Internal working model’
suggested that social releasers are an essential part of the attachment process,
as they strengthen the attachment. They do this by providing the innate
tendency of adults to care for the infant. Social releasers are both physical
and behavioural, physical is usually the typical baby face and behavioural consists
of crying, cooing, smiling, babbling etc, which would initially make the caregiver
want to attend and care for them. However, Bowlby also hypothesised stages of
attachment where he believed there are four stages an infant forms secure
attachment. The first stage is Pre-attachment which occurs around the ages of
birth to 2 months old. At this age the child positively responds to any person
and social and non-social stimuli, as they have yet to form a secure attachment.
Secondly the Attachment-in-the-making stage happens from the age 2 to 6 months.
The attachment is still not established; however, they now have a clearer
response to familiar faces and social stimuli. The attachment is fully
developed around 7-12 months in the clear-cut attachment stage, where the child
prioritises the main caregiver, and they start to experience separation anxiety
from this person. The last stage goal-corrected partnership is where anxiety
starts to decline, and the child realises that the caregiver also has feelings
and goals.  


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