Attachment theory was developed by John Bowlby to explain personality and social development from the cradle to the grave. The theory focuses on the experience, expression, and regulation of emotions at both normative (species-typical) and individual difference (person-specific) levels of analysis. This focus is not surprising given how important emotions and affect regulation are to interpersonal functioning in all types of close relationships.

Bowlby believed that the attachment system serves two primary functions: (1) to protect vulnerable individuals from potential threats or harm and (2) to regulate negative affect following threatening or harmful events. The normative component of attachment theory specifies the stimuli and contexts that normally evoke and terminate different kinds of emotions, as well as the sequence of emotions usually experienced following certain relational ...

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