From PsychEvos Wiki


Attachment is a deep and enduring emotional bond between two people in which each seeks closeness and feels more secure when in the presence of the attachment figure. Attachment behavior in adults towards the child includes responding sensitively and appropriately to the child's needs, and this behavior appears universal across cultures[1]. Attachment theory focuses on relationships and bonds, particularly long-term bonds, between people, including those between parents and children and between romantic partners. It is a psychological explanation for the emotional bonds and relationships between people[2].

Evolutionary Basis

Attachment theory has an evolutionary basis and suggests that attachment is innate and has a survival value. The propensity to form strong emotional bonds aids in survival, as attachment behavior in caregivers increases the likelihood of the child's physical and emotional needs being met[3]. John Bowlby, the founder of attachment theory, was greatly influenced by ethological theory, specifically Konrad Lorenz's study of imprinting in young ducklings. Lorenz demonstrated that attachment was innate, and it served a crucial role in ensuring the survival of the offspring[4].

Attachment Styles

Attachment styles are developed in response to significant environmental and interpersonal experiences throughout a person's life. Research has identified distinct attachment styles based on the behavior of infants when placed in an unfamiliar situation and separated from their parents[5]. These attachment styles include:

  • Secure attachment: Infants show distress upon separation, but seek comfort and are easily comforted when the parent returns.
  • Insecure-avoidant attachment: Infants show little distress upon separation and avoid their parent when they return.
  • Insecure-resistant attachment: Infants show distress upon separation and remain upset and difficult to comfort when the parent returns.

Studies have shown that 56% of respondents were identified as securely attached, 25% as insecure-avoidant, and 19% as insecure-resistant. Those reporting secure attachments were the most likely to have good and longer-lasting relationships. Insecure-avoidant individuals tended to reveal jealousy and a fear of intimacy[6].

Adult Attachment

Attachment patterns in childhood can predict adult attachment relationships, evidenced by correlations between early attachment experiences and later relationships. Similarly, these patterns can influence parenting capabilities, as individuals who experienced secure attachments in their youth are more likely to provide secure attachment environments for their children[7].