Ainsworth’s attachment classification system
The existence of secure and insecure types of attachment received early recognition by attachment theorists. However, it was not until the work of Ainsworth that the various patterns of attachment experience were fully explored, identified and made available for testing. This chapter describes five basic types of attachment behaviour. Cultural variations are also recognised in the distribution of the different types of attachment patterns. We conclude with a discussion about the anxieties children and adults experience when they fear that a close and important relationship might be lost. The way we manage and react to such losses forms the basis of the various psychological defence mechanisms we all use to try and cope with the anxieties and pains associated with difficult and stressful situations.
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