Attachment Theory

What is attachment theory?

Attachment is defined as an emotional bond with another person. Attachment theory was conceptualized in developmental psychology as the link between attachment and personal development. It claims that one's ability to form an emotional and physical attachment to another person provides stability and security, which in turns, allows people to be comfortable taking risks, branching out, and developing as an independent personality. 


How Attachment Theory Developed

John Bowlby was a psychologist who described attachment as a "lasting psychological connectedness between human beings." He was interested in understanding separation anxiety experienced by children when separated from their primary caregivers. He found that when children are frightened, they seek proximity from their primary caregiver, which helps them feel comforted and cared for. It is suggested by attachment theorists that a failure to form secure attachments early in life can have negative impact on behavior in later childhood and throughout adult life. 

Why Attachment Matters

Attachment theorists have concluded that attachment patterns established early in life can lead to a number of positive outcomes. These outcomes include: higher self-esteem, better self-reliance, more independence, and they may experience less depression and/or anxiety.