Attachment Disorder and Development

Attachment Disorder and Development

PSY104: Child and Adolescent Development (PTG1908A)

Attachment Disorder and Development

Attachment is said to be a continued association that is created and not voluntary. It transpires because of a nearby passionate connection between a child and no less than one guardian that is regularly the parent of the child. Despite the fact that psychosocial attachment has both organic and developmental orders that occur, it is communicated for the most part as an element of social conditioning (Mossler, 2014). Parents’ capacity to see, decipher and respond quickly to their newborn children needs and consideration, sequentially impact the nature of their attachment connections. In view of Bowlby’s attachment theory, the relationship created with essential caregivers is the most significant in kids’ lives. John Bowlby theorized that there are four phases of attachment that infants experience which are preattachment, attachment-in-the-making, organized goal-oriented attachment, and formation of reciprocal partnerships. Mary Ainsworth later tagged along and developed John Bowlby’s attachment theory. Her development of Bowlby’s attachment theory that Bowlby presented which infants experience consists of consist of securely attached infants, insecure-avoidant infants, insecure-resistance (or ambivalent) infants, and disorganized-disoriented infants. This paper will describe that four types of attachment that both Bowlby and Ainsworth formulated, and mention how attachment experiences affect psychological development of children and adolescents.

During John Bowlby’s first phase of attachment which is the preattachment stage (birth to six weeks); infants display smiling, gazing and crying in order to encourage interaction from adults. The infant does not show any particular attachment to a specific caregiver and does not usually display separation anxiety during times that the care giver goes away. During the second phase of attachment called attachment-in-the-making (six weeks to six months) the infant will start disapproving less when the routine caregiver is away. While they will still accept care from other people, they become better at distinguishing between familiar and unfamiliar people and respond more positively to the routine caregiver. The third phase of attachment called organized goal-oriented attachment (seven months to twenty-four months) is when the infant begins to display a strong attachment to the routine caregiver and gets upset when the routine caregiver departs. Also, anxiety may display around strangers. Bowlby’s fourth phase of attachment called formation of reciprocal partnership (begins at twenty-four months) is when infants begin to understand that when parents or caregiver leave that they will return. Infants begin to negotiate with caregivers and others for things that they want. Also, Infants begin to build stronger relationships outside of the primary caregiver (Mossler, 2014).

After John Bowlby presented his attachment theory, along came Mary Ainsworth to develop Bowlby’s standards of attachment theory in which she thought of a strategy to portray distinctive types of attachment. Ainsworth presented a procedure known as the Strange Situation. The Stranger Situation procedure is an arranged, standardized system in which babies experience a progression of separation-and-reunion experiences intended to gauge the quality of an attachment relationship. The Strange Situation Procedure (SSP), assumed a basic job in the expanding acknowledgment of connection hypothesis. The SSP was fundamental in giving observational proof to Bowlby’s thoughts. Instead of watching caregiver-child exemplar for prolonged periods of time, it presently appeared to be conceivable to epitomize the care-giver child relationship inside the time period of 20 minutes. Specialists rushed to see this favorable position and today the SSP is broadly utilized (Rosmalen, Veer & Horst, 2015)

During Mary Ainsworth’s first phase of attachment which is securely attached, infants are said to investigate their surroundings while the caregiver is present. Distress is displayed when caregiver is absent while calming easily once the caregiver returns. Parents of this type of infants are more sensitive and respond more to the needs of their children than parents of insecure infants. Two-thirds of infants are classified as being securely attached. In Ainsworth’s second phase of attachment which is insecure-avoidant, infants are indicated by their lack of interest to their mother. During the strange situation procedure these infants gave little recognition to their mother’s departure and remained in a balanced mood when the other returned. Some insecure-avoidant infants purposely avoid their mother and parents of this type slack in responding to the needs of the infant while avoiding physical contact which in return makes the child soothe itself. Twenty percent of children are said to be insecure-avoidant. In Ainsworth’s third phase of attachment which is insecure-restraint, infants show extreme levels of distress while exacting closeness and refusing closeness. When the caregiver leaves the infant shows anger once the caregiver returns. Parents of insecure-restraint infants utilize an erratic system of both neglect and responsiveness to the infant. Ten percent of children in North America said to be in this classification. In Ainsworth’s final phase of attachment which is disorganized-disoriented, the infants are said to be the lease securely attached. Contradictory and confused behaviors are what these types of infants display whenever the caregiver is away or present. During times of comfort the infant may turn away from the caregiver or just stare in a confused state. Parents of disorganized-disoriented infants may possibly have a history of being abused and use fearful parenting actions that likely causes the infants to act in the manner that they do. There are five percent of infants that are said to fit this category (Mossler, 2014).

Concerning how attachment experiences influence the psychosocial improvement of youngsters and teenagers, it can decide the kind of social abilities that child will show later in life. Insecurely attached children are more likely to create fewer social skills and have lower levels of communication abilities. An insecurely attached child may oftentimes end up on edge, even in accommodating and loving conditions. A report of thirteen studies demonstrated that attachment insecurity was unequivocally connected with borderline personality disorder. Practices that are normally connected with this example incorporate withdrawal from others, avoidance of comforting gestures, self-soothing practices, watchfulness, hostility, and awkwardness in social circumstances (Shah, 2015).

In conclusion, for example, the hypothesis of connection by John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth show how guardians assume a critical job in the advancement of kids. Kids are organically customized to join themselves with others as a mean of survival. Kids are likewise brought into the world with a characteristic conduct that help them to guarantee and keep up closeness and an association with its mom. Both Bowlby and Ainsworth state that the child’s attachment to the mother is more important than the child’s connection to other people. The kind of attachment experiences that a child experiences can decide the psychosocial advancement that the child will have later in life.


Mossler, R. A. (2014). Child and adolescent development (2nd ed). Retrieved from

Rosmalen, L., Veer, R., & Horst, F. (2015). Ainsworth’s Strange Situation Procedure: The Origin of an Instrument. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, (3), 261.

Shah, N. S. (2015). Effects of attachment disorder on psychosocial development. Retrieved from