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Lecture 7

PSYC 3300 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Attachment Theory, Attachment In Adults

3 pages39 viewsFall 2012

Course Code
PSYC 3300
David Stamos

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Bolwby’s Attachment Theory
The Infant’s Ties to its Mother
oMother as “secure base” — exploratory behavior
oMother as “safe haven” — proximity-seeking
The Attachment System
oAn evolved, goal-directed, behavioral system
oi.e., a “mommy-stat” or “proximity-stat”
Working Models
oInternal representations of infants’ early experiences of parental
support or parental neglect
Attachment system
o emotional, social links; children link with primary caregiver (mom)
oUse mom as secure base to explore; as long as she is around, they are
encouraged to explore (secure based behaviour)
oIf too far from mom—enfant will return to mom to ensure safety
Evolutionary adaptation where if infant feels stress, then mother
feels stress designates a safe, proper and acceptable distance.
More dangerous and threatening the environment = closer
proximity to mom
oWorking: children building expectations internal representation of
whether or not you will receive care or support if requested
Ainsworth’s Strange Situation
Separation anxiety – separation from mother = upset child
Stranger anxiety – presence of stranger = upset child
1. Infant explores.
2. Introduction of a stranger.
3. Parent leaves infant with stranger — first separation.
4. Parent returns, stranger leaves quietly — first reunion.
5. Parent leaves infant alone in the room — second separation.
6. Stranger returns, initiates play with infant.
7. Parent returns, stranger leaves quietly — second reunion.
Test provides similar reactions and level of intensity but children responded
strikingly different to each situation.
Attachment Classifications
Avoidant (far right)
oReady to explore
oIndifferent when mother leaves
oIndifferent when mother returns
oReady to explore
oAnxious when mother leaves
oRelieved when mother returns
Resistant (far left)
oReluctant to explore
oAnxious when mother leaves
oAmbivalent when mother returns
Attachment Classifications: Childhood Correlates
1. Maternal sensitivity
2. Acceptance and rejection
3. Psychological Accessibility (is mother available in many ways?)
4. Cooperation
Secure kids have mothers that are high on all 4 dimensions.
Resistant kids have mothers that are inconsistent in caregiving.
Avoidant kids have mothers that are chronically inaccessible or rejecting.
Child can explore in two ways: active (him/herself leading mother) and passive
(mother leading child)
Secure children display more exploratory behaviour (active) become more
socially competent and popular in schools.
Continuity to Adulthood
Adult Attachment Interview
oApprox. ¾ of infants show same adult attachment style
oPrimary change though is the secure kid becoming insecure as an
adult because of an event that changed them (e.g. death of a parent,
divorce, murder, abuse).
Romantic Love as an Attachment

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