Skip to main content

Bowlby’s Stages of Attachment

  • Reference work entry
  • 978 Accesses

Definition

The British psychiatrist and psychoanalyst John Bowlby described four phases in the early development of human attachment. Each phase is characterized by behaviors and, as the child matures, cognitions that are used to maintain proximity to or contact, both emotional and physical, with primarily the mother as well as other figures. Bowlby believed that humans are biologically built to become attached as a survival strategy.

Description

An attachment is an affectional bond that one person has with another, which connects them to each other and usually indicates affection or love. Normally, the first attachment the child forms is to the mother (or primary mother figure), and this attachment develops over time as the child matures. Bowlby developed a theory of human attachment to explain the child’s close affectional bond with the mother and based this theory of psychological development in part on ethology and on Darwinian evolutionary principles of survival. He theorized that...

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-79061-9_398
  • Chapter length: 3 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   949.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-0-387-79061-9
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book
USD   999.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

References

  1. Ainsworth, M. D. S. (1969). Object relations, dependency, and attachment: a theoretical review of the child-mother relationship. Child Development, 40, 969–1025.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Bowlby, J. (1982). Attachment and loss. Vol. 1. attachment (2nd ed.). New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

About this entry

Cite this entry

Field, C. (2011). Bowlby’s Stages of Attachment. In: Goldstein, S., Naglieri, J.A. (eds) Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-79061-9_398

Download citation