Attachment in Adults - Working Models

Working Models

Bowlby theorized that children learn from their interactions with caregivers. Over the course of many interactions, children form expectations about the accessibility and helpfulness of their caregivers. These expectations reflect children's thoughts about themselves and about their caregivers:

"Confidence that an attachment figure is, apart from being accessible, likely to be responsive can be seen to turn on at least two variables: (a) whether or not the attachment figure is judged to be the sort of person who in general responds to calls for support and protection; (b) whether or not the self is judged to be the sort of person towards whom anyone, and the attachment figure in particular, is likely to respond in a helpful way. Logically, these variables are independent. In practice they are apt to be confounded. As a result, the model of the attachment figure and the model of the self are likely to develop so as to be complementary and mutually confirming." (Bowlby, 1973, p. 238)

Children's thoughts about their caregivers, together with thoughts about themselves as deserving good caregivers, form working models of attachment. Working models help guide behavior by allowing children to anticipate and plan for caregiver responses. Once formed, Bowlby theorized that working models remain relatively stable. Children usually interpret experiences in light of their working models rather than change their working models to fit new experiences. Only when experiences cannot be interpreted in light of working models do children modify their working models.

When Hazen and Shaver extended attachment theory to adults, they included the idea of working models. Research into adult working models has focused on two issues. First, how are the thoughts that form working models organized in the mind? Second, how stable are working models across time? These questions are briefly discussed below.

Read more about this topic:  Attachment In Adults

Other articles related to "working models":

Attachment In Adults - Working Models - Stability of Working Models
... Investigators study the stability of working models by looking at the stability of attachment styles ... Attachment styles reflect the thoughts and expectations that constitute working models ... Changes in attachment styles therefore indicate changes in working models ...
Attachment Theory - Attachment in Adults
... The organisation and stability of the mental working models that underlie the attachment styles is explored by social psychologists interested in romantic attachment ... The organisation of mental working models is more stable while the individual's state of mind with respect to attachment fluctuates more ... Some authors have suggested that adults do not hold a single set of working models ...

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