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Attachment theory

Attachment theory is based on assumption that adult behavior lay squally in childhood and the theory goes on to explain human motivation as a process that originate from innate behavioral system which enable attachment and survival (Fonagy 2001). According to Bowlby (1998), a person is born with an innate attachment behavioral system that acts as a motivation for seeking closeness with others during the time of need.

Whereas other theories views human motivation in reference to drives or benefits (Hall & Lindesey, 1957), attachment theory view human motivation in terms of basic requirement for protection and safety. The child- mother bond is primarily not as a result of the benefits of breastfeeding but because of the child sense of insecurity hence safety and protection ( Brennan. Clark & Shaver, 1998). Children have several attachment figures towards whom they project their attachment behavior to. These figures according to Bolby (1998) have hierarchical arrangement with the major attachment figure on top.

If the figure is not available, separation distress arise and in turn due to anticipation of distress, separation anxiety arise. Bowlby (1988) uses the term alarm to mean activation of attachment association system which is due to fear and distinguishes the term from anxiety which is the fear of the child being detached from attachment figure. The central goal of the attachment behavior system is to achieve actual or perceived security and therefore the system is bound to be activated when there is a potential threat.

When activated, the behavior system provides a means to acquire close relationship with attachment figure (Dollard & miller, 1999). Attachment theory recognizes the mother as the main caregiver hence the principal attachment figure at although the role can be assumed by anyone who relate to the child in a mothering way in a considerable period of time. Hazan and Shaver (1997) also describe attachment figures as available, responsive and supportive in time of danger. Such figures are helpful in creating a sense that world is actually a safe place.

The theory however uses several assumption which include adaptability, critical period and robust of development. In adaptability, the theory assumes that behaviors of human attachment and the emotions are adaptive (Bowlby, 1998) References Bowlby, J. (1998). A secure base: clinical application of attachment theory. London. Roultledge. Brenna, K. , Clark, K. , & Shaver, P. R. (1998). Self report capacity of adult attachment: an Integrative summary. In Simpson, J. , & Rholes, W eds, attachment theory and close

Association. New York: Guilford press Fonagy, P. (2001). Attachment Behavioral Theory and Psychoanalysis. New York: Other Press. Dollard, J. , & Miller, N. E. (1999). Individuality and psychotherapy: a study in terms of learning, ` Thinking and culture. New York: McGraw press. Hall, S. C. & Lindsey, G. (1957). Theories of Individuality. New York: Wiley Hazan, C. , & Shaver, P. R. (1997). Love conceptualized as an attachment process. Journal of Personal and Social Psychology, 52: 511-524

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