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Attachment

First formed in infancy, attachment is based on the emotional connection between infants and their primary caregivers and affects the models infants have of self and other as well as how they regulate their emotion when distressed. Attachment theory highlights the importance of consistency, attunement, and responsiveness in creating a secure base whereby infants can explore their environment and seek safety when needed. These same principles are applicable in adulthood and, more recently, have formed an important foundation for couple and family therapy. This entry highlights the development of attachment theory, including the contributions of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. It will also highlight the role of attachment in adult relationships, how attachment change occurs, and the role of intervention in facilitating that change.

John Bowlby’s ...
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