Attachment Behavior in Abused/Neglected and Premature Infants

Implications for the Concept of Attachment
  • Theodore J. Gaensbauer
  • Robert J. Harmon
Part of the Topics in Developmental Psychobiology book series (TDP)


Bowlby (1969) put forth the concept of “attachment” as a model of the mother—infant relationship which could account for clinical observations indicating that separation of the infant from its mother had quite detrimental short-term and potentially long-term effects. By integrating points of view derived from psychoanalysis, ethology, and systems theory, this construct has proved to be extremely fruitful in stimulating developmental research. The work of Bowlby, Ainsworth, Sroufe, and their respective colleagues has produced convincing evidence for viewing attachment as an organizational construct that reflects qualitative aspects of the parent—infant relationship (Ainsworth,Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978; Lamb, Chapter 14; Sroufe & Waters, 1977). Although originally formulated based on observations of clinical populations, most of the empirical work on attachment has been conducted on normal, middle-class groups of infants and their parents. In this chapter we would like to return to the clinical realm in order to emphasize the value of clinical study for broadening and clarifying the concept of attachment.


Premature Infant Foster Care Secure Attachment Maternal Separation Attachment Relationship 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theodore J. Gaensbauer
    • 1
  • Robert J. Harmon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Colorado School of MedicineDenverUSA

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