Rethinking Attachment for Early Childhood Practice: Promoting Security, Autonomy and Resilience in Young Children

By Sharne A. Rolfe | Go to book overview

2
Attachment theory

In the next four chapters, the significance of attachment relationships for psychological development is described. We begin with an overview of the theory, first developed by John Bowlby in the 1950s (but with origins back to the 1930s; see Karen, 1994) and later expanded by Mary Ainsworth and others until the present time. We consider the pioneering work of Bowlby and Ainsworth in detail because of the groundbreaking insights contained in these early writings, and then explore how the theory has evolved since. While some argue that we now have multiple versions of the theory rather than a single theory (see Goldberg, 2000), commonalities abound.


The psychoanalytic origins of attachment theory

The basic tenet of attachment theory, that social and emotional development is linked to a child's early relationships with primary carers, is firmly founded in psychoanalytic theory. Holmes (1993) describes attachment theory as 'a child of psychoanalysis' (p. 127). However, from the outset attachment theory reflected dissatisfaction

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