History of Attachment Theory

History Of Attachment Theory

Attachment theory, originating in the work of John Bowlby, is a psychological, evolutionary and ethological theory that provides a descriptive and explanatory framework for understanding interpersonal relationships between human beings.

In order to formulate a comprehensive theory of the nature of early attachments, Bowlby explored a range of fields including evolution by natural selection, object relations theory (psychoanalysis), control systems theory, evolutionary biology and the fields of ethology and cognitive psychology. There were some preliminary papers from 1958 onwards but the full theory is published in the trilogy Attachment and Loss, 1969- 82. Although in the early days Bowlby was criticised by academic psychologists and ostracised by the psychoanalytic community, attachment theory has become the dominant approach to understanding early social development and given rise to a great surge of empirical research into the formation of children's close relationships.

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