Attachment has emerged as a key area (for some, the most salient area) of social development. Theory and research on attachment, as process and as outcome, has flourished in recent years. No longer does research concentrate only on one- year-old humans with their mothers in one setting. Work on attachment processes has proliferated with a variety of species and with humans in diverse cultures and at various points in the life cycle, including the later years. Rirther, the attachment concept that was initially applied to the bond of infants/children to their mothers and significant others has come to be applied increasingly also to the bond of mothers (and others) to the infants/children in their care. Indeed in some recent approaches, the conception of bonding has been applied to the process whereby infants and mothers concurrently attach to one another. In this frame, increasing attention has been devoted to the meaning and implications of the attachment concept, possible indices of attachment, the role of learning, whether or not attachment is best treated as continuous or discontinuous (emergent), and whether or not attachment should be viewed as a trait across environmental settings or as a process with functions that operate differently in different settings.
Finally, important concepts, methods, and theoretical orientations have, in their different ways, increasingly come to relate to or touch on--to intersect with--attachment and in that way to push out in many directions the implications of the attachment conception. At the same time, such intersecting concepts as communication, identification, relationships, love, stress/distress, pathology, economic demands, imprinting and ethology, and such intersecting methods as interspecies, intergroup, interage, and normal-abnormal comparisons are themselves being impacted by being examined in relation to attachment, at various levels of analysis.