Attachment Theory:Main Principles,Insecure Attachments and Social Implications - Essay Example

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A wealth of empirical data demonstrates that secure and nurturing family relationships are essential in the early developmental context.How individuals eventually conform socially or deviate from social expectations can,in many important and insightful ways,be traced to the early childhood context…
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Attachment Theory:Main Principles,Insecure Attachments and Social Implications
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Download file to see previous pages Attachment theory is essentially concerned with this early childhood developmental period and how it affects subsequent behavioural tendencies.The identification of the factors underlying insecure attachments is therefore of paramount concern.This area of inquiry is of paramount concern because research indicates that a person's relationships throughout life will in many ways be affected by that person's initial relationships with the family.There is additional research which indicates that a person's earliest experiences "become biologically rooted in our brain structure and chemistry from the time of our gestation and most profoundly in the first month of life" (Balbernie, 2003: np.). To the extant that babies become biologically programmed, and the research suggests that to a certain extant they do, it becomes a moral and social imperative to ensure that family relationships contribute positively to early development.British psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, John Bowlby, whom is credited with having pioneered Attachment Theory, created an early framework for studying the consequences of family relationships on the developing child. This type of framework is significant because "the patterning or organization of attachment relationships during infancy is associated with characteristic processes of emotional regulation, social relatedness, access to autobiographical memory, and the development of self-reflection and narrative." (Siegal, 1999:67). Attachment Theory, most generally, addresses both secure and insecure attachments.
Secure attachments refer to family relationships which make the child feel safe and secure. These relationships tend to better promote confidence and adaptability in children. There is, of course, no guarantee of mental health in the future; nonetheless, research studies do demonstrate that secure attachments lead children to explore the world around them more completely and from a broader perspective. They are often more inquisitive and more emotionally balanced.
Insecure attachments refer to family relationships characterised by abuse, distance, or dysfunction. Numerous studies point out that mental and psychological disorder can very often be traced to the early developmental years. Studies, for instance, have consistently demonstrated: "a high rate of insecure attachments among clinic-referred boys and their mothers." (Greenberg, et al., 1997: 216). These insecure attachments become manifest in later life in such behaviours as aggression, non-compliance, withdrawal, and violence. There are various types of insecure attachments noted in the literature, to be discussed more fully below.
The first main type is classified as avoidance attachment. This results when families discourage overt demonstrations of affection or distress in the early years. The parents may tend to be unsympathetic and distant. The biological imprinting is that the child is "unworthy of love" (Balbernie, 2003: np.). This frequently results in low self-esteem and subsequent outbursts of aggression. Research also demonstrates that people with compulsive personalities are often the products of this type of avoidance attachment. The second main type, resistant attachment, is known to arise in situations where a child has an inconsistent and unpredictable relationship with family members. This type of attachment, in the early years, can result in children developing a low threshold for distress and craving comfort. In adults, the manifestations of this type of insecure attachment include relationship dependencies, relationship compulsions, and other relationship difficulties. One ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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