Basic Concepts in Attachment Theory Essay

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Basic Concepts in Attachment Theory
Attachment theory is the joint work of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth (Ainsworth &
Bowlby, 1991 ). Drawing on concepts from ethology, cybernetics, information processing, developmental psychology, and psychoanalysts, John Bowlby formulated the basic tenets of the theory. He thereby revolutionized our thinking about a child’s tie to the mother and its disruption through separation, deprivation, and bereavement. Mary Ainsworth’s innovative methodology not only made it possible to test some of Bowlby’s ideas empirically hut also helped expand the theory itself and is responsible for some of the new directions it is now taking. Ainsworth contributed the concept of the attachment figure as a secure
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Another study of children whose parents were in nursing homes found that children's attachment was related to parent mood (Pruchno, Peters, Kleban, and Burant 1994[pic]). Attachments were less intense when parents were depressed and no longer able to provide the emotional support that children expected from the relationship. It may be that attachment dynamics, forged in childhood, continue to influence child–parent relationships later in the life span. But even if attachment patterns in adult children are discontinuous from their earliest manifestation, contemporary attachment patterns may still be relevant to the way in which adult children interact with their parents via children's capacity for self-reflectiveness, empathy, and their own needs for security (Crose 1994[pic]).
Cicirelli 1991[pic] has suggested that adult children provide care to their parents to forestall the dissolution of their attachment relationship. As parents age and weaken, their impermanence becomes more apparent to children. Anxious about the threatened loss of their attachment figure, children may provide support to bolster their parent and preserve the important attachment object. Cicirelli 1993[pic] study of caregiving daughters revealed that attachment had a direct and positive relationship with the care that daughters were providing to their mothers: Stronger attachment bonds were associated with greater amounts of care, independent of mothers' level of functional dependency.