Attachment Theory

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  • A framework for the investigation of deep and enduring relationships that are formed in early infancy. The British psychologist John Bowlby drew attention to the importance of attachment after he observed orphaned children in World War II. He concluded that forming an attachment to a caregiver (usually the mother) is an important developmental task and separation from the caregiver or loss of the bond results in depression and emotional difficulties. Children as young as three months learn to recognize the mother and are able to differentiate her from a stranger. Virtually all children prefer their mother to a stranger by the age of six or seven months. After that, separation from the mother is experienced as stressful. Children vary in their attachment (amount of closeness ...

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