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Attachment theory was created by John Bowlby in the 1950s and later expanded by Mary Ainsworth and others. It is the prevailing theory for understanding early social development in children. Attachment theory is used to describe and explain the affectional bond that is formed between infants and their caregivers. Because infants are fragile at birth and need extended caregiving during infancy to survive, Bowlby believed that infants are born with an innate drive to form a unique bond with a parent to ensure survival. To enhance the emotional bonding between infant and caregiver, the infant forms an intense attachment with the care-giver, and the infant behaves (e.g., crying, eye contact, cooing) in ways that tend to elicit caretaking behaviors from the parent.

In addition to ensuring ...

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