Theory What Are the Major Concepts of Research Paper

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Theory

What are the major concepts of Ainsworth's theory?

Ainsworth's attachment theory is rooted in Bowlby's research on the bonds that develop between parent and child. Building on Bowlby's research, Ainsworth conducted a groundbreaking experiment known as the Strange Situation. Results of the Strange Situation experiment revealed three different categories of attachment styles. Ainsworth found secure attachment, ambivalent-insecure attachment, and avoidant-insecure attachment (Cherry, n.d.). Moreover, four categories of attachment style behaviors were observed. These four categories include separation anxiety, which refers to the emotional reaction to the caregiver leaving. The infant's willingness to explore in the caregiver's absence is another feature of attachment. Stranger anxiety refers to how the infant responds to strangers when the primary caregiver is absent. Finally, Ainsworth studied reunion behavior, which was how the child reacted to the return of the caregiver. Using these four parameters of attachment-related behaviors, Ainsworth developed the three primary attachment styles: secure attachment, ambivalent-insecure attachment, and avoidant-insecure attachment. For example, a child with high separation anxiety, who avoids interacting with strangers in the absence of the parent, and who avoids exploring in the absence of the parent, will be classified as having a secure attachment style. If an infant shows no sign of distress when the parent leaves, plays with strangers in the parent's absence, and shows little interest in the parent's return has an avoidant attachment style. Ambivalent attachment is characterized by intense stress at the mother's leaving, overt fear of the stranger, crying without exploring much, and resisting contact with the mother upon return.

7. How is Attachment related to or an influence on successful aging? Need critical thinking re "righteousness" of the theories and their ability to really uncover person's deepest influences, motives and characteristics.

Bowlby recognized that attachment was important throughout the life course (Fraley, n.d.). The same motivational patterns will impact the individual in romantic relationships and friendships later in life. Secure attachment styles have been associated in research with the development of high self-esteem, high self-reliance, and independence. Children with secure attachment styles have been shown to evolve into successful individuals with strong social networks, good school performance, and less
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tendency to develop mood disorders like anxiety or depression (Cherry, n.d.). Research shows that attachment theory has unique applications among senior populations. For example, Van Assche et al. (2013) found that older adults develop less attachment relations vs. younger adults, but that symbolic attachments become stronger. A symbolic attachment could be attachment to an ideology or dead person. Decreases in attachment anxiety is evident in older adults vs. younger adults, but attachment avoidance remains stable across the aging process. Van Assche et al. (2013) also found that insecure attachment styles have a negative impact on caregiver burden. In other words, an insecure attachment style between the senior and his or her primary caregiver is linked with caregiver anxiety and perceived burden.

The attachment behavioral system is a motivational system, or a function of motivation (Fraley, n.d.). Features existing in the infant-parent attachment are paralleled in the romantic arena. Feeling safe, intimate, and wanting to share discoveries are some examples of how the adult romantic relationship parallels the attachment patterns of childhood. The characteristics of romantic relationships also include insecurity when the other person is not available, and even the exhibition of baby talk (Fraley, n.d). The same motivations that guide caregiving for parents are the motivations for all types of caregiving scenarios. Moreover, the same styles of attachment are evident in romantic relationships vs. parental ones. Fraley (n.d.) notes that partner selection is influenced strongly by attachment styles.

3. How does Attachment come about?

Attachment develops along stages, according to Schaffer & Emerson (cited by Cherry, n.d.). The pre-attachment stage is from birth to three months of age. During the pre-attachment stage, the infant is not necessarily attached to any specific person. The baby cries or communicates in other ways with the caregiver, and the caregiver responds accordingly. The next phase after pre-attachment is indiscriminate attachment, which lasts from about six weeks of age to seven months. At this stage, the infant will exhibit preferences for particular people. Trust begins to emerge at this phase of the attachment process. The infant will accept care from other people, but will be already able to distinguish between the primary caregiver and all others. Discriminate attachment is the next phase, lasting until about eleven…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Benoit, D. (2004). Infant-parent attachment. Pediatric Child Health 9(8): 541-545.

Cherry, K. (n.d.). Attachment theory. Retrieved online: http://psychology.about.com/od/loveandattraction/a/attachment01.htm

Fraley, R.C. (n.d.). A Brief Overview of Adult Attachment Theory and Research. Retrieved online: http://internal.psychology.illinois.edu/~rcfraley/attachment.htm

Main, M. & Solomon, J. (1986). Discovery of an insecure-disorganized/disoriented attachment pattern. Affective Development in Infancy. 95(124).

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