Thus, they may be "off-mother" a great deal of the time when mother is rejecting, but their ability to cope with their extra-dyadic environment is not enhanced at all. The appearance of independence or reduced attachment is illusory. The infant who, on the other hand, is permitted to modulate its behavior in terms of its own affective state, moving away when relaxed or comfortable, returning at will to the reassuring contact of the "available" and "contingently responsive" mother (cf. Lewis & Goldberg, 1968), is likely to be in a state better suited to learning the complexities of coping with its social and physical world. Hence, it is the more permissive but responsive mother who facilitates the ultimate reduction of attachment that is necessary for her offspring to cope effectively with its social and physical world even in her absence.
The research reported in this paper was supported in part by USPHS Grant #MH15970, funds from the H. F. Guggenheim Foundation, and the State University of New York.
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