Psychological aspects of attachment - Essay Example

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Attachment is one of the pivotal psychological phenomena, which is commonly identified as a tendency to seek closeness to another person and feel secure when that person is present (Steinberg, 1999). Another definition fo attachment, observing Fraley and Shafer (2000) is an "emotional bond with a specific person that is enduring across time and space"…
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Psychological aspects of attachment
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Download file to see previous pages The first ideas of attachment obviously go back to early psychoanalysis, and particularly to Freudian ideas of personality development. Freud was the first to understand that children are atatched to their parents not because they provide them food, but rather due to deeper psychological reasons, such as the need of belongness, security and care (Fadiman and Frager, 2001). Freud supposed that child's attachment is generally developed by means of libidinal drives fixed on different objects. In case the attachment is broken, unrealized libidinal drives constitute mental traumas often leading to later mental illness. Later psychanalitycal views were significantly reconsidered by E. Erikson who defined the stages of child's development in ontogenesis (Fadiman and Frager, 2001).
The Freudian concept of attachment was further siginficantly reconsidered in 1940s-1950s. British psychologist John Bowlby was the first empiricists who developed the complex attachment theory designed originally to characterize infant-parent emotional bonding (Shaver, 2002). Bowlby challanged Anna Freud's idea that bereaved infants mourn may be explained by their insufficient ego development.
The J. Bowlby's (1982; 1988) attachment model relies on ethological theory (1), focuses on the innate base of attachment (2) and looks at the quality of attachments with caregivers (3). J.Bowlby's (1982; 1988) orginal attempt was to understand the severe distress experienced by infants separated from their parents in a result of World War II.
Bowlby and his associate J.Robertson working in Anna Freud's Hampstead residential hospital found out that separated infants usually behave differently from the unseparated children. They, for instance used to cry, cling, or search for other people for extremely long periods of time. Bowlby and Robertson (1952) explained thios behavior as the attempt of children to either prevent separation from their parents or to reestablish paliative proximity to a parent who is missed.
Traditionally, these manifestations of behavior were explained as defense machanisms targeted to repress emotional pain of separated children. Bowlby, however, suggested that this behavior (which is actually common to a wide range of mammalians) serves an evolutory function: looking for an adult person who is able toprovide necessary care and support. Observing J. Bowlby (1982; 1988), a motivational-control system or, as he named it "attachment behavioral system" was developed evlutionally by natural selection to regulate young species survival through achieving proximity to "older and wiser" individuals.
The atatchment-behavioral system, according to Bowlby, literally "asks" a child to answer the following key questions: is the potential attachment figure nearby accessible and attentive. If a child answers "yes" he/she feels loved, protected and confident and, hence, demonstrates it behaviorally: becomes sociable and gamesome. If, however, a child feels an attachment figure to be inaccessible and inattentive, he/she frustrates and exibits attachment behavior which may range from visualizing the environment to vocalizing (giving signals to the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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