Childhood Place Attachments

  • Louise Chawla
Part of the Human Behavior and Environment book series (HUBE, volume 12)


There is a long history of cultural assumptions regarding children’s special affinity or bond for certain places, much of it antedating modern psychology. Within psychology, the subject is more ambiguous. The term attachment evokes a long history of theory and research that has measured the degree to which young children seek to keep a primary caretaker in sight and hearing, showing distress at separation and joy at reunion not merely for the sake of the satisfaction of physical needs but for the value of her presence (Maccoby & Masters, 1970; Sears, 1972). Much of this work has been inspired by the psychoanalytic theory of object relations. A naive reader might suppose that this literature explores people’s relations with objects—with things—which must involve things in their places; but a reader schooled in psychological jargon knows that in this case “object” almost invariably means “mother.” Yet the confusion is not merely naive, as object relations theorists have usually assumed that a child’s feelings for places and things develop as an extension of its relations with its mother. As a result, it has not been clear whether place attachments should be considered merely secondary effects of social attachments, or whether they have an independent existence.


Place Preference Middle Childhood Place Attachment Psychoanalytic Theory Behavior Mapping 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louise Chawla
    • 1
  1. 1.Whitney Young CollegeKentucky State UniversityFrankfortUSA

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