The History and Evolution of Infant-Parental Attachment Security

The History and Evolution of Infant-Parental Attachment Security

Erika Nolan (Marymount Manhattan College, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2940-9.ch010

Abstract

From an ethological viewpoint, the term “attachment” refers to the affectional tie developed between two animals that creates a lasting bond. While the term generally refers to animals, for the purpose of this chapter, this term will be used to describe bonds among humans. Mainly, the word attachment will be used to analyze and describe the bond between an infant and his/her primary caregiver. One of the primary characteristics of attachment is the desire to maintain close proximity. This is accomplished through attachment behaviors, which are behaviors that support proximity to the attachment figure.
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Key Terms in this Chapter

Maternal Sensitivity: How attentive or inattentive a mother is to her infant’s needs.

Ethology: The study of animal behavior.

Imprinting: The process in which certain avian species follow and form an attachment to the first moving object they perceive at birth.

Generalized Representations of Attachment: The attachment forged between a child and his/her primary caregiver.

Mutual Satisfaction: A relationship is equally rewarding to a child as it is to his/her primary caregiver.

Emotion Regulation: Behaviors that adjust and control an individual’s emotion.

Strange Situation: A study conducted by Mary Ainsworth that was comprised of eight episodes and was meant to create a sense of novelty that would influence exploratory behavior in a child.

Correlation: A relationship between two variables.

Naturalistic Observation: A research technique in which a researcher records behavior made by an individual while in the subject’s natural habitat.

Security Theory: A theory that suggests that in order for children to have the ability to embark upon unfamiliar situations, they must have a secure dependence on parents.

Romantic Representations of Attachment: The attachment between adults and their romantic partners.

Insecure Avoidant Attachment: A form of attachment between a child and his/her primary caregiver in which the child does not use the attachment figure as a secure base to explore. The caregiver has consistently not met the child’s needs.

Ego Resiliency: How effectively children can adaptively regulate their attention and behavior in response to their changing environments.

Attachment Behaviors: Behaviors that support proximity to an attachment figure.

Secure Attachment: A form of attachment between a child and his/her primary caregiver that emphasizes the ability for children to use their attachment figure as a secure base to explore their environment. The caregiver has consistently met the child’s needs.

Insecure Anxious Resistant Attachment: A form of attachment between a child and his/her primary caregiver in which the child does not use the attachment figure as a secure base to explore. The caregiver has inconsistently met the child’s needs. The child appears ambivalent towards the caregiver.

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