John Bowlby’s theory of attachment is an empirical and conceptual framework for studying parent–child relationships. It is grounded in evolutionary biology. The function of the early attachment relationship is to protect the young from harm and thereby enhance survival. Babies have an inborn propensity to signal their caregiver by means of vocalizations, facial expressions, or crying to come closer to provide protection and security. Infants signal for closer proximity with caregivers when they perceive an increase in the probability of danger, for example, when hurt, ill, hungry, left alone, a stranger is present, or in unfamiliar settings. Infants form secure attachments with caregivers who accurately perceive and sensitively respond to their distress. If an infant’s signal for comfort (e.g., crying) is ignored or the caregiver ...

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