John Bowlby (1952)and James Robertson (1952) started to research the attachment theory in 1948 with the help from a small grant from the sir Halley Stewart trust, this was to fund the research on the effects of development on children between the ages of 0-5 years that had been separated from a parent/parents (attachment figure) at a young age. The theory of an attachment disorder is the deprivation of an attachment figure which would most likely be the mother or the primary care giver. The separation anxiety could come about from either from a short separation such as a hospital stay for illness , or from a long term deprivation such as bereavement.
The attachment behaviour will present itself in many ways but the behaviour may be changed depending on the conditions of the child for example, fatigue ,illness, high temperature or pain. The further the attachment figure is out of reach the more heightened the behaviour becomes. Bowlby said
“the young child’s hunger for his mother’s love and presence is as great as his hunger for food”
Depending on how severe the behaviour it may well be eased by simply having the knowledge of the whereabouts of the attachment figure or physical contact of the figure.
One of Bowlby first studies where based on case notes from the London child guidance clinic, many of the patients were affectionless and prone to stealing and not being well adjusted. The 44 cases that he researched in detail Bowlby was able to link their histories with a maternal deprivation or a separation of some kind.
The importance of attachments, psychologists have 2 main theories that are believed to be important in forming attachments (dollard and miller 1950) suggest that attachment is a set of learned behaviours, the need to replenish is one of the behaviours ,the child will form a bond with whomever will feed him, this then will form the start of the attachment. As the child is cared for more and more and the needs are met then the primary care giver will be the attachment figure, most likely the mother. The child will associate the feeling of comfort with being fed and cared for this will create a comfort feeling when with the attachment figure. However Bowlby, Harlow and Lorenz suggest that the child will have an innate ability to form attachments, and are born with