Adult attachment style defined in Childhood

Attachment is a strong bond between two people. Such special relationships are formed with a partner, parents, children or a friend and it created combination of feelings that contributed to mental health. Problems with relationships can affect the way people feel about themselves and their lives.

The attachment theory developed by Bowlby stated that children form strong emotional bonds with their primary caregiver. The formation of the bond provided a secure base for an infant to explore the world. Through relationships between an infant and a caregiver Internal Working Models that were defined as a set of expectations about relationships were formed and such models affected the quality of future relationships through life.

Mary Ainsworth developed a laboratory procedure for assessment of children’s attachment style that was called Strange Situation procedure. It included a set of episodes where a child, a mother and a stranger had a sequence of separations and reunions. The reunion after a brief separation showed the style of child’s attachment. Mary Ainsworth identified three attachment styles:

• Insecure, anxious avoidant, when a child did not seek proximity on reunion and rejected to be comforted by his mother.

• Secure, when a child sought proximity on reunion and allowed to be comforted.

• Insecure, anxious ambivalent, when a child showed avoidant as well proximity-seeking behaviors and behaved in inconsistent ways towards the mother.

The claim of attachment theory that internal working models persisted and affected people’s relationships through life led to the idea that the attachment style should have also persisted through life and the interview was developed to assess adult attachment type. There were identified three types of adult attachment that were similar to those of children’s.

In the longitudinal study of Hamilton (1994) it was found that the attachment styles in childhood and adulthood had a strong correspondence. However, in another similar study such correspondence was not found (Zimmerman et al.,2000). In these studies the occurrence of different life events were also monitored. It was found that the correspondence between attachment styles in childhood and adulthood occurred sheen the circumstances of an individual remained more of less the same. It was concluded that major changes in life might have altered the attachment style. Main and Goldwyn (1984) defined this phenomenon as earned security. Many studies had shown that the starting point in development did not determine the subsequent destination but made it more probable.

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