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Parental Attachment

  • By: Cynthia Ann Frosch
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Attachment relationships describe an affectional or emotional bond between two people. The term parental attachment describes the attachment relationship a child shares with his or her parent. Early attachment relationships are widely studied as important influences on child and family development. Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby were two pioneers in the area of attachment theory, and their observations and writings continue to influence our thinking about attachment today. More important, the impact of separation and loss, along with the child's use of the parent as a secure base to explore and learn about the world, remain key concepts in understanding the formation and influence of attachment relationships.

Attachment relationships form over the course of the first year of life and are shaped by the child's ...

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