PDF The Dynamics of Connection: How Evolution and Biology Create Caregiving and Attachment

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Linda has also been working over the past several years with people in prison, particularly with women who are keeping their babies with them in prison. Bell has been primarily responsible for data management and statistical analysis over the course of this project. David's theoretical research has included development and extensions of the caregiving process within attachment theory, including the evolution, neurobiology and psychological structure of parental nurturance of children. His empirical research has involved longitudinal analyses of relationship and behavioral change.

In addition to collaborative work with Linda, David has studied relationship development over time in the context of the therapeutic relationship in drug abuse treatment, a relationship that is similar to the parent-child relationship in terms of development. He has also studied the social network organization of HIV transmission. Bell and David C.

“When Strangers Meet”: John Bowlby and Harry Harlow on Attachment Behavior

Bell Linda G. I think it was Jason who said many CP professionals tend to bury their heads in the sand and I have used the word idealistic. To me, what it all boils down to is the lawyers are responsible for ensuring correct procedures are followed in every case. That is the only way to stop malpractice and system abuse.

In a way these discussions about attachment ,whilst of interest,divert us from the main issues. I suppose this is the reason why we always stray from the subject after a while. This comment is no. I have consistently said that poor practice should be held to account. Unfortunately both are equally anecdotal, so as I say, relatively pointless to point out.

It is an integral part of the CP process. I have tried several times to get this comment through. The above was a test. If a child has a healthy and secure attachment to their primary carer it means they are confident their needs are going to be met and their carer is attuned to anticipating those needs. Children whose needs are not met will not have that healthy and secure attachment. I suspect you can tell that unmet needs is a comment on how that child is being parented.

Well,i am afraid that opinion of yours is wrong and is proof to me that many CP professionals misunderstand the Bowlby theory of attachment and the Ainsworth theory on testing security of attachment. It applies to babies and security or insecurity of attachment , according to qualified psychologists, ultimately it is likely to be a result of a combination of different genetic and environmental factors which impact on very early brain development which influence the myriad of behaviours that are seen in every child.

I can think,off the cuff ,of many environmental factors which will result in an insecure attachment even with the most caring mother. For example, what of babies whose early brain development period is spent in an incubator where he or she has needs supplied through various tubes including feeding tubes? What of those babies who when first taken out of the incubator has needs supplied by a nursery nurse in hospital? What if a mother suffers from some sort of post-natal illness or disease and is incapacitated? That baby will either have to have its needs supplied by a nurse at hospital,by a female relative or by her husband.

A major point i wish to make,however, is that judgments of secure or insecure attachment cannot be made with any certainty in a Family Court. That rule applies even when given by a qualified psychologist. Such judgments are merely professional opinion and speculation and they are not based on scientific fact. They are based on scientific theory. The Bowlby theory in any form cannot be used as a factual evidential base as CP professionals seem to assume. Particularly they should not make judgments after applying Ainsworth or Q- type tests to their observations at contact meetings and so forth.

Family Courts should make judgments on facts alone. Helen, the quote comes from a psychological expert source:. The quote comes from the independent report to court of specialists. Apart from examining the specific case ,they gave a general view on attachment theory as was their duty under ethical standards of practice. I suggest professionals refer to the link to Psychological World.

The link to psychological world is a brief review about those who have researched attachment theory and their findings. It would be helpful for everyone especially the General Public were I allowed to give them access to Court reports and assessments but unfortunately proceedings are not open and transparent. I am unable to publish the report online. It was meant for the Family Court alone. A psychological specialist report on children can be ordered by a Family Court. Experts are appointed,a letter of instruction supposedly agreed by all parties is sent to them and they carry out the instructions.

These experts are completely independent of any of the parties and are expected to be neutral. Members of the British Psychological Society have a code of ethics under which they are obliged to explain points to it and caution them as to the significance of various expert terms and theories such as attachment. They reviewed all up-to-date literature as all so-called experts should and felt it their duty to explain attachment theory and the validity of professional judgments as to attachment security etc.

I suggest non-psychologists should read as many psychological reviews as they can. You are entitled to view attachment in any way you want. So am I. We are all able to express the theory in whichever way we want. The psychologists felt they should caution the Court that judgments as to security of attachment can only be regarded as theory and speculation.

Also and I quote in more detail I hope my comments are of some help. I can only remark that the experts could not have been fairer or more neutral; under their code of ethics ,they did not attempt their theoretical judgment of secure attachment as fact. They cautioned the Court. Sorry,I meant to say they did not attempt to disguise their judgment of secure attachment as fact or the theory of attachment for that matter. Is the report you are referring to a case specific one then?

It could be the most lauded report in the universe but I would still want to read their evidence base and credentials, because I do read. Only the Court,lawyers,advocates etc. In a previous post,i outlined their credentials. Take my word for it. It is a case specific report as i have already said but ,to assist the Court and to fulfil ethical standards,it also explains attachment theory generally.

I suggest you read everything you possibly can on psychology world and review other recent literature, if you are really interested but i would not expect it of you or of lawyers or parents for that matter. After all,we are not psychologists.

ATTACHMENT: how our infancy relates to the ways we connect with our romantic partner

Anyway,even if I was allowed,I would feel myself ethically bound to ask the permission of the experts first. I trust you are not questioning my integrity. I am neutral on attachment theory. I had assumed you would be quoting from something I could read and check the source for. I have read extensively on attachment theory, it forms a key part of my ongoing education; CPD and post graduate qualifications. Please,then, in future remember to keep more up-to-date.

Insecure attachment is not indicative of insensitive or bad parenting. Neither is a secure attachment indicative of good parenting. One or the other develops as a result of genetic and early environmental factors. The Bowlby attachment is around infants and how they are pre-programmed to form an affectional tie with any mother-figure which meets their needs. Nothing to do with the the primary carer and nothing to do with danger. Please tell me do you make your own assessments of attachment on the strength of reports by contact workers and by reference to the Ainsworth assessment technique called the Strange Situation Classification SSC?

If you do,be warned the technique is only really valid for babies. Preferably,you might also caution the Court that the your assessment is only professional opinion and speculation and that security of attachment does not necessarily mean bad parenting. I know you do your best. My main worry is about how cp professionals misunderstand the theory and use it with a lack of impartiality not about the theory per se. But then again, it is down to the lawyers to argue the parents case in Court which is where the real systemic problems lie.

Eviodence should be tested more rigourously,in my view. How is it possible to do so in a family court with such tight schedules? This is what I meant by not using the term attachment disorder. The attachment indicators SW are worried by are those based in fear et. If a child regularly experiences this kind of fear, because of abuse including emotional abuse or witnessing domestic violence, for example, the effect can be traumatising.

Be wary about taking to much notice of what children tell you though. Get the parents view too. Did you ever see the Harry Enfioeld show? For those with a longer memory in the s attachment theory was used in private law to justify mother custody ie the idea was that children are harmed by being separated from their mothers. Now attachment theory and the dubious neuroscience is being peddled to assess parenting with fleeting visits, no proper process and in a manner which is not scientifically valid.

MPs and Judges all accept a theory which is not scientifically valid. We need a process like in USA and Canada to test these theories. Personally, I cannot see that the process used by social workers etc has any validity, but Judges just follow it blindly. Woe betide anyone who challenges it, as it falls on deaf ears. I have heard plenty of explanations and discussions about attachment and how it is assessed. I understand it to mean that a child who has a good attachment is a child who is secure in the knowledge that the adults around him will look after him; they are consistent, reliable and safe.

I have met too many adults who as children did not feel safe or protected in their own homes; the consequences are often awful and life long. Sarah -Can I ask who wrote this post?. What are the effects of physical trauma during childbirth? Can this result in lifelong brain damage and if so does it differ from a neuro-developmental disorder as a result of a poor genetic inheritance or an in-vitro imbalance of hormones?

Are there phases in our development when they are very plastic for example in the first few years of life and again in adolescence? Where do we draw the line between disability and disorder and who has the skillset and competencies to make these calls for an individual child? I am not qualified to opine on the strength of much of the research into attachment.

Each will interplay and affect the other. After all, plenty of humans have made it to healthy adulthood without robotic, self-scrutinising parental care. Thanks Sarah for the clarifications. For these reasons I really think any work on genetic markers for resilience is in its infancy and probably akin to the medieval search for a method to create gold. I have two theories:- 1 Maltreatment causes physical disabilities, pseudo-Autism — nothing to do with Attachment Disorder at all for very many children in the Care system.

So please can someone prove me wrong unless of course you think I should be able to produce evidence in which case theories become facts? The emotional damage done can be huge. That leap is one of faith and if you choose to make it, then that is your belief — it is not a fact. I am describing a way of parenting. It represents an objective good, not some flakey theory.

I have seen far too many adults who have suffered the lack of it as children. Or that I should believe that SWs should have enough skills to understand what constitutes harmful or neglectful parenting without this one theory? While in theory individual parents can choose to reject this parenting lifestyle, when governments decide that all parents require neuroparenting training to do a good enough job, we should be concerned.

Having spent the past few years reading promotional material produced by neuroparenting advocates and surveying UK policy documents which have absorbed their key messages, I have wondered and worried about the consequences of this cold, technical reinterpretation of family life.

This is because under neuroparenting we are in an alien, joy-sapping territory — not a loving family home. Attachment theory is about the need for children to have a secure base, to know that there is a safe, reliable adult who will consistently meet their needs. I cannot understand how anyone could object to any standard of parenting that tried to ensure that a child felt loved and wanted. Different children may need that expressed in different ways at different times. But as a fundamental bedrock of good parenting, it seems very obvious to me that it is what is needed.

This is not to say that some children in Care are neuro-typical and have poor mental health but this is not the whole story. There are children of autistic parents in Care, and those children are likely to be autistic too. So I guess I mean there is a pretty comprehensive misunderstanding of the needs of a significant of children in Care — with this understanding, outcomes would be so much better for these particular children — imagine if 1 in 8 in Care. In my world, the world of parents of high IQ Autism and poor mental health, — Attachment Disorder comes up again and again — parents have a tremendous battle to do whatever it takes to get that label removed from our children.

It is the ultimate in parent blame — clinicians who hand it out without a real understanding of family dynamics gained in the family home over time and how realistic is that? Can I ask Sarah for example if you believe parents have a huge role in explaining the world to their children to prepare them for adulthood and to help them deal with much of the horrible news they are exposed to or that parents should role model how to deal with anxiety or anger? Are they not just facets of parenting?

I also am very dubious about much of the theory surrounding it linking cause and effect. Sadly I too have met many people with difficult problems in later childhood and adulthood. I would never link cause and effect in the way all are encouraged to via this theory. Is it a gift to policy makers as our health and social care systems crumble through lack of money and expertise to be replaced by people pushing products and services? I know this because I remember being a child. I see no problem at all in recognising this actual FACT and promoting parenting that is emotionally atuned to children.

Sarah neither do I but that is not Attachment Theory — that is responsible, capable, loving parenting. And is that the best arguement anyone can put forward in defense of this theory.. Trauma bonds? What are they? Sounds like more SW theory. Or that they are traumatised at separation from Mum which is highly likely? The Judge does not have time to read all the medical evidence in detail; he is entitled to expect the professionals to read them and make impartial assessments.

However, if such speculation and guesswork is to be listened to then the powers of the Family Court should be limited. This is worth reading too.. While there is evidence of positive outcomes and impact, the variation in the quality and quantity of available evidence suggests a need for further good quality evaluation to establish which services and configurations of services are most effective to meet the mental health and wellbeing needs of children and young people and their carers.

The detail case studies you have to register make interesting reading for all sorts of reasons. Only 2 covering 5 children of 88 from memory relate to autistic children. Sensory needs in children with attachment difficulties?? Thanks Helen — you must know my next question…. Please show why this is not nonsense for the starry eyed and the gullible….

Does this matter? Yes it does.. So , it works well for a child I know that they have a weighted blanket on their laps. It works well for another that they are greeted at the door by their teacher, and almost handed over by a parent, with a reassurance about when they will be handed back. The first child was not autistic, the second did not have attachment issues. Sensory needs in children with attachment difficulties — no wonder further good quality evaluation was recommended — In the case of these children, I can only suggest they are assessed for Autism as a matter of urgency.

What a MESS..

Promoting the health and Wellbeing etc pg Secure Homes also achieve a range of health outcomes for children, including the diagnosing of their mental health issues. Diagnosis is a signpost to a wealth of information about what works.

Bowlby and Attachment

Children have a right to diagnosis as much as they have a right to care from the adults in their lives. The risks these children face of exclusion, prison, homelessness, exploitation are so high. A child that needs a weighted blanked needs a very good assessment of her difficulties and from what you describe there is a high likelihood the child described is on the autistic spectrum. I was talking about the classroom accommodating everyone.

If I was talking about there being no need for diagnosis I would have said so. This is what leaves me perplexed — Submission 62 is a Specialist therapeutic, long term fostering program Focus Fostering , providing solo placements for children aged 5 to 18 who have suffered complex developmental trauma. Focus fostering is a multi-agency team with a dedicated CAMHS practitioner or lead, family placement social workers, support workers and a teacher.

The service aims to provide a holistic approach that is psychologically informed, trauma sensitive and attachment focused. They have much in common with Cults…. Who will apologise to the countless families so failed by this system in decades to come? Is this what trauma sensitive feels like? There were improvements in for example, confidence for parents. The whole premise is so questionable.. Did parents have greater understanding of difficulties or were they just told they had? Where is the evidence — Children showed an INCREASE in difficult behaviour — and this was submitted as a case study of good practice that we are supposed to want more of for our children??

It is difficult to know how to start unpicking the effect of these misconceptions and potential harm caused in individual cases where children have been removed from their families as a result. It is in my view likely to have caused inter-generational harm on a very significant scale. It is also likely to have undermined trust in the structures of the State that once lost, may never be regained.

Models of care and care pathways to support mental health and wellbeing of looked after children: Findings of call for evidence. Other pledges made, ahead of the upcoming election on 8 June, include more regulation for commercial fostering agencies. Attachment theory has some merit because it give an intellectual framework for understanding some of the components of good parenting that might otherwise be difficult to grasp intellectually.

It however has very serious limitations in that it does not address the difficulties of children who may not be meeting their developmental milestones for other reasons and can lead to an environment where all parents are encouraged to parent in a mechanistic way and when children do not respond to this, this is seen as a failure in parenting.

Many of these children will have complex physical disabilities and poor mental health that remains unrecognised. This is happening largely without scrutiny or challenge. Attachment theory is all about the need for children to have a safe, reliable adult who will be available to them, physically and emotionally, and consistently meet their needs.

To simplify the argument would it be fair to say that children labelled with attachment problems react out of fear ,and unfortunately so do children with autism. Autism in many respects in a very heightened state of anxiety. Their anxiety results in anxiety in family members.

Hence the potential for wrong diagnosis of attachment problems. The overlap between autistic traits and the features of attachment issues means a specialist needs to diagnose. This is not about their Autism it is about not being recognised as needing adjustments.

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Sadly too many children enter Care at his point because it would take years to access a specialist assessment. They lose the fragile links with their families and I have no idea what happens them post 18 — nothing in the public realm…I just know individual parents stories and the tremendous struggle they face — some do not even know where their child is — out of county, out of country. This is perfectly legal if the young person is over 16 and chooses not to share even though they may for example have the danger awareness of a three year old..

From a legal point of view one not understood by many family court lawyers attachment theory , attachment disorder etc. There are times when parents feel tired or distracted. The telephone rings or there is breakfast to prepare. In other words, attuned interactions rupture quite frequently. But the hallmark of a sensitive caregiver is that the ruptures are managed and repaired.

Attachments between infants and caregivers form even if this caregiver is not sensitive and responsive in social interactions with them. Infants cannot exit unpredictable or insensitive caregiving relationships. Instead they must manage themselves as best they can within such relationships. Based on her established Strange Situation Protocol, research by developmental psychologist Mary Ainsworth in the s and 70s found that children will have different patterns of attachment depending primarily on how they experienced their early caregiving environment.

Early patterns of attachment, in turn, shape — but do not determine — the individual's expectations in later relationships. Attachment theory has become the dominant theory used today in the study of infant and toddler behavior and in the fields of infant mental health, treatment of children, and related fields.

The Newborn Arrives With Many Behaviours Intact

Secure attachment is when children feel they can rely on their caregivers to attend to their needs of proximity, emotional support and protection. It is considered to be the best attachment style. Separation anxiety is what infants feel when they are separated from their caregivers.

Anxious-ambivalent attachment is when the infant feels separation anxiety when separated from his caregiver and does not feel reassured when the caregiver returns to the infant. Anxious-avoidant attachment is when the infant avoids their parents. Disorganized attachment is when there is a lack of attachment behavior. In the s, the theory was extended to attachment in adults. Attachment applies to adults when adults feel close attachment to their parents and their romantic partners.

Within attachment theory, attachment means "a biological instinct in which proximity to an attachment figure is sought when the child senses or perceives threat or discomfort. Attachment behaviour anticipates a response by the attachment figure which will remove threat or discomfort". John Bowlby begins by noting that organisms at different levels of the phylogenetic scale regulate instinctive behavior in distinct ways, ranging from primitive reflex-like "fixed action patterns" to complex plan hierarchies with subgoals and strong learning components.

In the most complex organisms, instinctive behaviors may be "goal-corrected" with continual on-course adjustments such as a bird of prey adjusting its flight to the movements of the prey. The concept of cybernetically controlled behavioral systems organized as plan hierarchies Miller, Galanter, and Pribram, thus came to replace Freud's concept of drive and instinct. Such systems regulate behaviors in ways that need not be rigidly innate, but—depending on the organism—can adapt in greater or lesser degrees to changes in environmental circumstances, provided that these do not deviate too much from the organism's environment of evolutionary adaptedness.

Such flexible organisms pay a price, however, because adaptable behavioral systems can more easily be subverted from their optimal path of development. For humans, Bowlby speculates, the environment of evolutionary adaptedness probably resembles that of present-day hunter-gatherer societies for the purpose of survival, and, ultimately, genetic replication.

These figures are arranged hierarchically, with the principal attachment figure at the top. If the figure is unavailable or unresponsive, separation distress occurs. By age three or four, physical separation is no longer such a threat to the child's bond with the attachment figure. Threats to security in older children and adults arise from prolonged absence, breakdowns in communication, emotional unavailability, or signs of rejection or abandonment. The attachment behavioural system serves to achieve or maintain proximity to the attachment figure.

During the first phase the first eight weeks , infants smile, babble, and cry to attract the attention of potential caregivers. Although infants of this age learn to discriminate between caregivers, these behaviours are directed at anyone in the vicinity. During the second phase two to six months , the infant increasingly discriminates between familiar and unfamiliar adults, becoming more responsive toward the caregiver; following and clinging are added to the range of behaviours.

Clear-cut attachment develops in the third phase, between the ages of six months and two years. The infant's behaviour toward the caregiver becomes organized on a goal-directed basis to achieve the conditions that make it feel secure. These manifest as protesting the caregiver's departure, greeting the caregiver's return, clinging when frightened, and following when able. If the caregiver is inaccessible or unresponsive, attachment behaviour is more strongly exhibited. For example, whereas babies cry because of pain, two-year-olds cry to summon their caregiver, and if that does not work, cry louder, shout, or follow.

Common attachment behaviours and emotions, displayed in most social primates including humans, are adaptive. The long-term evolution of these species has involved selection for social behaviors that make individual or group survival more likely. The commonly observed attachment behaviour of toddlers staying near familiar people would have had safety advantages in the environment of early adaptation, and has similar advantages today. Bowlby saw the environment of early adaptation as similar to current hunter-gatherer societies. According to Bowlby, proximity-seeking to the attachment figure in the face of threat is the "set-goal" of the attachment behavioural system.

Bowlby's original account of a sensitivity period during which attachments can form of between six months and two to three years has been modified by later researchers. These researchers have shown that there is indeed a sensitive period during which attachments will form if possible, but the time frame is broader and the effect less fixed and irreversible than first proposed. With further research, authors discussing attachment theory have come to appreciate that social development is affected by later as well as earlier relationships.

Early steps in attachment take place most easily if the infant has one caregiver, or the occasional care of a small number of other people. According to Bowlby, almost from the first many children have more than one figure toward whom they direct attachment behaviour. These figures are not treated alike; there is a strong bias for a child to direct attachment behaviour mainly toward one particular person.

Bowlby used the term "monotropy" to describe this bias. Rather, current thinking postulates definite hierarchies of relationships. Early experiences with caregivers gradually give rise to a system of thoughts, memories, beliefs, expectations, emotions, and behaviours about the self and others. This system, called the "internal working model of social relationships", continues to develop with time and experience.

As they develop in line with environmental and developmental changes, they incorporate the capacity to reflect and communicate about past and future attachment relationships. This internal working model continues to develop through adulthood, helping cope with friendships, marriage, and parenthood, all of which involve different behaviours and feelings.

Specific attachment behaviours begin with predictable, apparently innate, behaviours in infancy. They change with age in ways that are determined partly by experiences and partly by situational factors. A child's behaviour when reunited with a caregiver is determined not only by how the caregiver has treated the child before, but on the history of effects the child has had on the caregiver. The most common and empirically supported method for assessing attachment in infants 12monthsmonths is the Strange Situation Protocol, developed by Mary Ainsworth as a result of her careful in-depth observations of infants with their mothers in Uganda see below.

While the procedure may be used to supplement clinical impressions, the resulting classifications should not be confused with the clinically diagnosed ' Reactive Attachment Disorder RAD '. The clinical concept of RAD differs in a number of fundamental ways from the theory and research driven attachment classifications based on the Strange Situation Procedure.

The idea that insecure attachments are synonymous with RAD is, in fact, not accurate and leads to ambiguity when formally discussing attachment theory as it has evolved in the research literature. This is not to suggest that the concept of RAD is without merit, but rather that the clinical and research conceptualizations of insecure attachment and attachment disorder are not synonymous.

The 'Strange Situation' is a laboratory procedure used to assess infant patterns of attachment to their caregiver. The procedure consists of eight sequential episodes in which the child experiences both separation from and reunion with the mother as well as the presence of an unfamiliar stranger. Mainly on the basis of their reunion behaviours although other behaviors are taken into account in the Strange Situation Paradigm Ainsworth et al. There are subclassifications for each group see below.

A fourth category, termed Disorganized D , can also be assigned to an infant assessed in the Strange Situation although a primary 'organized' classification is always given for an infant judged to be disorganized. Each of these groups reflects a different kind of attachment relationship with the mother. A child may have a different type of attachment to each parent as well as to unrelated caregivers. Attachment style is thus not so much a part of the child's thinking, but is characteristic of a specific relationship.

However, after about age five children tend to exhibit one primary consistent pattern of attachment in relationships. The pattern the child develops after age five demonstrates the specific parenting styles used during the developmental stages within the child. These attachment patterns are associated with behavioral patterns and can help further predict a child's future personality.

Some insecure children will routinely display very pronounced attachment behaviours, while many secure children find that there is no great need to engage in either intense or frequent shows of attachment behaviour. A toddler who is securely attached to his or her parent or other familiar caregiver will explore freely while the caregiver is present, typically engages with strangers, is often visibly upset when the caregiver departs, and is generally happy to see the caregiver return.

The extent of exploration and of distress are affected, however, by the child's temperamental make-up and by situational factors as well as by attachment status. A child's attachment is largely influenced by their primary caregiver's sensitivity to their needs. Parents who consistently or almost always respond to their child's needs will create securely attached children. Such children are certain that their parents will be responsive to their needs and communications.


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In the traditional Ainsworth et al. B1's have been referred to as 'secure-reserved', B2's as 'secure-inhibited', B3's as 'secure-balanced', and B4's as 'secure-reactive'. In academic publications however, the classification of infants if subgroups are denoted is typically simply "B1" or "B2" although more theoretical and review-oriented papers surrounding attachment theory may use the above terminology.

Securely attached children are best able to explore when they have the knowledge of a secure base their caregiver to return to in times of need. When assistance is given, this bolsters the sense of security and also, assuming the parent's assistance is helpful, educates the child in how to cope with the same problem in the future. Therefore, secure attachment can be seen as the most adaptive attachment style.

According to some psychological researchers, a child becomes securely attached when the parent is available and able to meet the needs of the child in a responsive and appropriate manner. At infancy and early childhood, if parents are caring and attentive towards their children, those children will be more prone to secure attachment.

Anxious-resistant insecure attachment is also called ambivalent attachment. When the mother departs, the child is often highly distressed. The child is generally ambivalent when she returns. The mixture of seeking and yet resisting contact and interaction has an unmistakeably angry quality and indeed an angry tone may characterize behavior in the preseparation episodes Their exploratory behavior is limited throughout the SS and their interactive behaviors are relatively lacking in active initiation.

Nevertheless, in the reunion episodes they obviously want proximity to and contact with their mothers, even though they tend to use signalling rather than active approach, and protest against being put down rather than actively resisting release In general the C2 baby is not as conspicuously angry as the C1 baby. Research done by McCarthy and Taylor , found that children with abusive childhood experiences were more likely to develop ambivalent attachments.

The study also found that children with ambivalent attachments were more likely to experience difficulties in maintaining intimate relationships as adults. A child with the anxious-avoidant insecure attachment style will avoid or ignore the caregiver — showing little emotion when the caregiver departs or returns. The child will not explore very much regardless of who is there. Infants classified as anxious-avoidant A represented a puzzle in the early s. They did not exhibit distress on separation, and either ignored the caregiver on their return A1 subtype or showed some tendency to approach together with some tendency to ignore or turn away from the caregiver A2 subtype.

Ainsworth and Bell theorised that the apparently unruffled behaviour of the avoidant infants is in fact a mask for distress, a hypothesis later evidenced through studies of the heart-rate of avoidant infants. If there is a greeting when the mother enters, it tends to be a mere look or a smile Either the baby does not approach his mother upon reunion, or they approach in 'abortive' fashions with the baby going past the mother, or it tends to only occur after much coaxing If picked up, the baby shows little or no contact-maintaining behavior; he tends not to cuddle in; he looks away and he may squirm to get down.

Ainsworth's narrative records showed that infants avoided the caregiver in the stressful Strange Situation Procedure when they had a history of experiencing rebuff of attachment behaviour. The child's needs are frequently not met and the child comes to believe that communication of needs has no influence on the caregiver. Ainsworth's student Mary Main theorised that avoidant behaviour in the Strange Situational Procedure should be regarded as "a conditional strategy, which paradoxically permits whatever proximity is possible under conditions of maternal rejection" by de-emphasising attachment needs.

Firstly, avoidant behaviour allows the infant to maintain a conditional proximity with the caregiver: close enough to maintain protection, but distant enough to avoid rebuff. Secondly, the cognitive processes organising avoidant behaviour could help direct attention away from the unfulfilled desire for closeness with the caregiver — avoiding a situation in which the child is overwhelmed with emotion 'disorganised distress' , and therefore unable to maintain control of themselves and achieve even conditional proximity.

Ainsworth herself was the first to find difficulties in fitting all infant behaviour into the three classifications used in her Baltimore study. Ainsworth and colleagues sometimes observed "tense movements such as hunching the shoulders, putting the hands behind the neck and tensely cocking the head, and so on. It was our clear impression that such tension movements signified stress, both because they tended to occur chiefly in the separation episodes and because they tended to be prodromal to crying.

What is Attachment Theory? Why is it important? | Child Protection Resource

Indeed, our hypothesis is that they occur when a child is attempting to control crying, for they tend to vanish if and when crying breaks through. Crittenden, for example, noted that one abused infant in her doctoral sample was classed as secure B by her undergraduate coders because her strange situation behavior was "without either avoidance or ambivalence, she did show stress-related stereotypic headcocking throughout the strange situation. This pervasive behavior, however, was the only clue to the extent of her stress. Drawing on records of behaviours discrepant with the A, B and C classifications, a fourth classification was added by Ainsworth's colleague Mary Main.

If the behaviour of the infant does not appear to the observer to be coordinated in a smooth way across episodes to achieve either proximity or some relative proximity with the caregiver, then it is considered 'disorganised' as it indicates a disruption or flooding of the attachment system e. There is rapidly growing interest in disorganized attachment from clinicians and policy-makers as well as researchers. Sroufe et al. Main and Hesse [54] found that most of the mothers of these children had suffered major losses or other trauma shortly before or after the birth of the infant and had reacted by becoming severely depressed.

Techniques have been developed to allow verbal ascertainment of the child's state of mind with respect to attachment. An example is the "stem story", in which a child is given the beginning of a story that raises attachment issues and asked to complete it. For older children, adolescents and adults, semi-structured interviews are used in which the manner of relaying content may be as significant as the content itself. Main and Cassidy observed that disorganized behavior in infancy can develop into a child using caregiving-controlling or punitive behaviour in order to manage a helpless or dangerously unpredictable caregiver.

In these cases, the child's behaviour is organised, but the behaviour is treated by researchers as a form of 'disorganization' D since the hierarchy in the family is no longer organised according to parenting authority. Patricia McKinsey Crittenden has elaborated classifications of further forms of avoidant and ambivalent attachment behaviour. These include the caregiving and punitive behaviours also identified by Main and Cassidy termed A3 and C3 respectively , but also other patterns such as compulsive compliance with the wishes of a threatening parent A4.

Crittenden's ideas developed from Bowlby's proposal that "given certain adverse circumstances during childhood, the selective exclusion of information of certain sorts may be adaptive. Yet, when during adolescence and adulthood the situation changes, the persistent exclusion of the same forms of information may become maladaptive".

Crittenden proposed that the basic components of human experience of danger are two kinds of information: [63]. Crittenden terms this "affective information". In childhood this information would include emotions provoked by the unexplained absence of an attachment figure. Where an infant is faced with insensitive or rejecting parenting, one strategy for maintaining the availability of their attachment figure is to try to exclude from consciousness or from expressed behaviour any emotional information that might result in rejection.

Causal or other sequentially-ordered knowledge about the potential for safety or danger. In childhood this would include knowledge regarding the behaviours that indicate an attachment figure's availability as a secure haven. If knowledge regarding the behaviours that indicate an attachment figure's availability as a secure haven is subject to segregation, then the infant can try to keep the attention of their caregiver through clingy or aggressive behaviour, or alternating combinations of the two. Such behaviour may increase the availability of an attachment figure who otherwise displays inconsistent or misleading responses to the infant's attachment behaviours, suggesting the unreliability of protection and safety.

Type C was hypothesized to be based on heightening perception of threat to increase the disposition to respond. By contrast, type B strategies effectively utilise both kinds of information without much distortion.