Avoidant Attachment: Understanding Insecure Avoidant Attachment
The relationship between the primary caregiver and the baby can create a secure , anxious, disorganized or avoidant attachment style that will form a blueprint. The security of attachment in one- to two-year-olds were insecure avoidant ( type A) and insecure ambivalent/resistant (type A forth attachment style known as disorganized was later identified They found that there is a relatively weak correlation of between parental sensitivity and attachment type. However, when there is an anxious or avoidant attachment pattern, and a with Dr. Phillip Shaver on “Secure and Insecure Love: An Attachment Perspective. with a fearful avoidant attachment lives in an ambivalent state, in which they are.
The overly positive and seemingly friendly views of self that are experienced by many avoidant individuals are also promoted by the inner voice and are often a cover-up for vicious, self-degrading thoughts. The critical inner voice can be thought of as the language of these internal working models; the voice acts as a negative filter through which the people look at themselves, their partner and relationships in general.
Although many critical inner voices are only partly conscious, they have the power to shape the ways that people respond to each other in their closest, most intimate relationships. Individuals identified as having a dismissing attachment style have reported experiencing such thoughts as: There are many experiences throughout life that provide opportunities for personal growth and change. One essential way to do this is by making sense of your story.
When you create a coherent narrative, you actually rewire your brain to cultivate more security within yourself and your relationships. In a previous article, I noted that being involved in a long-term relationship with someone who has a secure attachment style is one pathway toward change. The other way is through therapy; the therapeutic alliance or relationship offers a safe haven in which to explore our attachment history and gain a new perspective on ourselves, others and relationships in general.
To learn more about how to write a coherent narrative and develop an earned secure attachment, join Dr. Lisa Firestone and Dr.
Robert Firestone in writing 12 books and numerous professional articles. A founding member of Glendon Association, she has been a national lecturer and workshop facilitator in the areas of child abuse prevention and couple relations.
With Glendon, she has co-produced 40 video documentaries on a wide range of mental health topics. Catlett was also instrumental in the development and training of instructors in the Compassionate Child Rearing Education Program and in training mental health professionals in Voice Therapy Methodology. Several group members with or without blood relation contribute to the task of bringing up a child, sharing the parenting role and therefore can be sources of multiple attachment.
There is evidence of this communal parenting throughout history that "would have significant implications for the evolution of multiple attachment. And a child's "uncles and aunts" father's siblings and their spouses also contribute to the child's psycho-social enrichment. Although it has been debated for years, and there are tedious differences amongst cultures, research shows that the three basic aspects of Attachment Theory are in fact universal.
The Strange Situation Protocol[ edit ] The most common and empirically supported method for assessing attachment in infants 11 months—17 months is the Strange Situation Protocol, developed by Mary Ainsworth as a result of her careful in-depth observations of infants with their mothers in Baltimore, USA see below.
While the procedure may be used to supplement clinical impressions, the resulting classifications should not be confused with the psychiatric diagnosis ' Reactive Attachment Disorder RAD '. The clinical concept of RAD differs in a number of fundamental ways from the theory and research driven attachment classifications based on the Strange Situation Procedure.
The idea that insecure attachments are synonymous with RAD is, in fact, not accurate and leads to ambiguity when formally discussing attachment theory as it has evolved in the research literature. This is not to suggest that the concept of RAD is without merit, but rather that the clinical and research conceptualizations of insecure attachment and attachment disorder are not synonymous.
The 'Strange Situation' is a laboratory procedure used to assess infants' pattern of attachment to their caregiver by introducing an unexpected threat, two brief separations from the mother followed by reunion. In the procedure, the mother and infant are placed in an unfamiliar playroom equipped with toys while a researcher films the procedure through a one-way mirror. The procedure consists of eight sequential episodes in which the infant experiences both separation from and reunion with the mother as well as the presence of an unfamiliar person the Stranger.
Mother or other familiar caregiverBaby, Experimenter 30 seconds Episode 2: Mother, Baby 3 mins Episode 3: Mother, Baby, Stranger 3 mins Episode 4: Stranger, Baby 3 mins or less Episode 5: Mother, Baby 3 mins Episode 6: Baby Alone 3 mins or less Episode 7: Stranger, Baby 3 mins or less Episode 8: Mother, Baby 3 mins Mainly on the basis of their reunion behaviour although other behaviors are taken into account in the Strange Situation Paradigm Ainsworth et al.
Group B later called 'secure'Group A later called 'anxious avoidant'and Group C later called 'anxious ambivalent'. There are subclassifications for each group see below. Beginning ina series of expansions were added to Ainsworth's original patterns.
They include the following: An infant may have a different pattern of attachment to each parent as well as to alternate caregivers. Pattern of attachment is thus not a part of the infant, but is characteristic of the protective and comforting quality of a specific relationship. These attachment patterns are associated with behavioral patterns and can help further predict a child's future personality. Some insecure children will routinely display very pronounced attachment behaviours, while many secure children find that there is no great need to engage in either intense or frequent shows of attachment behaviour.
Introduction to R
Secure attachment A toddler who is securely attached to his or her parent or other familiar caregiver will explore freely while the caregiver is present, typically engages with strangers, is often visibly upset when the caregiver departs, and is generally happy to see the caregiver return.
The extent of exploration and of distress are affected, however, by the child's temperamental make-up and by situational factors as well as by attachment status. A child's attachment is largely influenced by their primary caregiver's sensitivity to their needs. Parents who consistently or almost always respond to their child's needs will create securely attached children. Such children are certain that their parents will be responsive to their needs and communications.
B1's have been referred to as "secure-reserved", B2's as 'secure-inhibited', B3's as "secure-balanced", and B4's as "secure-reactive". In academic publications however, the classification of infants if subgroups are denoted is typically simply "B1" or "B2" although more theoretical and review-oriented papers surrounding attachment theory may use the above terminology. Securely attached children are best able to explore when they have the knowledge of a secure base their caregiver to return to in times of need.
When assistance is given, this bolsters the sense of security and also, assuming the parent's assistance is helpful, educates the child in how to cope with the same problem in the future. Therefore, secure attachment can be seen as the most adaptive attachment style.
According to some psychological researchers, a child becomes securely attached when the parent is available and able to meet the needs of the child in a responsive and appropriate manner. At infancy and early childhood, if parents are caring and attentive towards their children, those children will be more prone to secure attachment.
When the mother departs, the child is often highly distressed. The child is generally ambivalent when his mother returns. The mixture of seeking and yet resisting contact and interaction has an unmistakably angry quality and indeed an angry tone may characterize behavior in the preseparation episodes".
Perhaps the most conspicuous characteristic of C2 infants is their passivity. Their exploratory behavior is limited throughout the SS and their interactive behaviors are relatively lacking in active initiation.
- Attachment in children
- Attachment theory
Nevertheless, in the reunion episodes they obviously want proximity to and contact with their mothers, even though they tend to use signalling rather than active approach, and protest against being put down rather than actively resisting release In general the C2 baby is not as conspicuously angry as the C1 baby.
The study also found that children with ambivalent attachments were more likely to experience difficulties in maintaining intimate relationships as adults. The infant will not explore very much regardless of who is there. Infants classified as anxious-avoidant A represented a puzzle in the early s.
They did not exhibit distress on separation, and either ignored the caregiver on their return A1 subtype or showed some tendency to approach together with some tendency to ignore or turn away from the caregiver A2 subtype. Ainsworth and Bell theorized that the apparently unruffled behaviour of the avoidant infants was in fact a mask for distress, a hypothesis later evidenced through studies of the heart-rate of avoidant infants.
If there is a greeting when the mother enters, it tends to be a mere look or a smile Either the baby does not approach his mother upon reunion, or they approach in "abortive" fashions with the baby going past the mother, or it tends to only occur after much coaxing If picked up, the baby shows little or no contact-maintaining behavior; he tends not to cuddle in; he looks away and he may squirm to get down.
The infant's needs were frequently not met and the infant had come to believe that communication of emotional needs had no influence on the caregiver. Ainsworth's student Mary Main theorized that avoidant behaviour in the Strange Situation Procedure should be regarded as "a conditional strategy, which paradoxically permits whatever proximity is possible under conditions of maternal rejection" by de-emphasising attachment needs.
Firstly, avoidant behaviour allows the infant to maintain a conditional proximity with the caregiver: Secondly, the cognitive processes organising avoidant behaviour could help direct attention away from the unfulfilled desire for closeness with the caregiver—avoiding a situation in which the child is overwhelmed with emotion "disorganized distress"and therefore unable to maintain control of themselves and achieve even conditional proximity. Ainsworth and colleagues sometimes observed "tense movements such as hunching the shoulders, putting the hands behind the neck and tensely cocking the head, and so on.
It was our clear impression that such tension movements signified stress, both because they tended to occur chiefly in the separation episodes and because they tended to be prodromal to crying. Indeed, our hypothesis is that they occur when a child is attempting to control crying, for they tend to vanish if and when crying breaks through.
Crittenden, for example, noted that one abused infant in her doctoral sample was classed as secure B by her undergraduate coders because her strange situation behavior was "without either avoidance or ambivalence, she did show stress-related stereotypic headcocking throughout the strange situation. This pervasive behavior, however, was the only clue to the extent of her stress". Drawing on records of behaviours discrepant with the A, B and C classifications, a fourth classification was added by Ainsworth's colleague Mary Main.
If the behaviour of the infant does not appear to the observer to be coordinated in a smooth way across episodes to achieve either proximity or some relative proximity with the caregiver, then it is considered 'disorganized' as it indicates a disruption or flooding of the attachment system e.
A Japanese study in Takahashi studied 60 Japanese mother-infant pairs and compared them with Ainsworth's distributional pattern. Although the ranges for securely attached and insecurely attached had no significant differences in proportions, the Japanese insecure group consisted of only resistant children with no children categorized as avoidant.
This may be because the Japanese child rearing philosophy stressed close mother infant bonds than in Western cultures. In Northern Germany, Grossmann et al. Another study in Israel found there was a high frequency of an ambivalent pattern which according to Grossman et al.
An example is the "stem story", in which a child is given the beginning of a story that raises attachment issues and asked to complete it. For older children, adolescents and adults, semi-structured interviews are used in which the manner of relaying content may be as significant as the content itself. Main and Cassidy observed that disorganized behavior in infancy can develop into a child using caregiving-controlling or punitive behaviour in order to manage a helpless or dangerously unpredictable caregiver.
In these cases, the child's behaviour is organized, but the behaviour is treated by researchers as a form of 'disorganization' D since the hierarchy in the family is no longer organized according to parenting authority. These include the caregiving and punitive behaviours also identified by Main and Cassidy termed A3 and C3 respectivelybut also other patterns such as compulsive compliance with the wishes of a threatening parent A4.
Yet, when during adolescence and adulthood the situation changes, the persistent exclusion of the same forms of information may become maladaptive".
Crittenden terms this "affective information". In childhood this information would include emotions provoked by the unexplained absence of an attachment figure. Where an infant is faced with insensitive or rejecting parenting, one strategy for maintaining the availability of their attachment figure is to try to exclude from consciousness or from expressed behaviour any emotional information that might result in rejection.
Causal or other sequentially-ordered knowledge about the potential for safety or danger. In childhood this would include knowledge regarding the behaviours that indicate an attachment figure's availability as a secure haven.
Mary Ainsworth | Attachment Styles | Simply Psychology
If knowledge regarding the behaviours that indicate an attachment figure's availability as a secure haven is subject to segregation, then the infant can try to keep the attention of their caregiver through clingy or aggressive behaviour, or alternating combinations of the two. Such behaviour may increase the availability of an attachment figure who otherwise displays inconsistent or misleading responses to the infant's attachment behaviours, suggesting the unreliability of protection and safety.
Type C was hypothesized to be based on heightening perception of threat to increase the disposition to respond. By contrast, type B strategies effectively utilise both kinds of information without much distortion. This may lead their attachment figure to get a clearer grasp on their needs and the appropriate response to their attachment behaviours. Experiencing more reliable and predictable information about the availability of their attachment figure, the toddler then no longer needs to use coercive behaviours with the goal of maintaining their caregiver's availability and can develop a secure attachment to their caregiver since they trust that their needs and communications will be heeded.
Significance of patterns[ edit ] Research based on data from longitudinal studies, such as the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and the Minnesota Study of Risk and Adaption from Birth to Adulthood, and from cross-sectional studies, consistently shows associations between early attachment classifications and peer relationships as to both quantity and quality.
Although the link is not fully established by research and there are other influences besides attachment, secure infants are more likely to become socially competent than their insecure peers.
Relationships formed with peers influence the acquisition of social skills, intellectual development and the formation of social identity. Classification of children's peer status popular, neglected or rejected has been found to predict subsequent adjustment. Their social and behavioural problems increase or decline with deterioration or improvement in parenting.
However, an early secure attachment appears to have a lasting protective function. Examination of data from 1, month-olds showed that variation in attachment patterns was continuous rather than grouped. However, it has relatively little relevance for attachment theory itself, which "neither requires nor predicts discrete patterns of attachment.
Insecure attachment and early psychosocial stress indicate the presence of environmental risk for example poverty, mental illness, instability, minority status, violence. Environmental risk can cause insecure attachment, while also favouring the development of strategies for earlier reproduction.
Different reproductive strategies have different adaptive values for males and females: Adrenarche is proposed as the endocrine mechanism underlying the reorganization of insecure attachment in middle childhood. This internal working model is related to the individual's state of mind which develops with respect to attachment generally and explores how attachment functions in relationship dynamics based on childhood and adolescent experience.
The organization of an internal working model is generally seen as leading to more stable attachments in those who develop such a model, rather than those who rely more on the individual's state of mind alone in forming new attachments.
Attachment in children - Wikipedia
Age, cognitive growth, and continued social experience advance the development and complexity of the internal working model. Attachment-related behaviours lose some characteristics typical of the infant-toddler period and take on age-related tendencies. The preschool period involves the use of negotiation and bargaining. Ideally, these social skills become incorporated into the internal working model to be used with other children and later with adult peers.
As children move into the school years at about six years old, most develop a goal-corrected partnership with parents, in which each partner is willing to compromise in order to maintain a gratifying relationship.