4 Adult Attachment Styles: Attachment Theory

4 Adult Attachment Styles: Attachment Theory

People look to others for emotional control, and satisfying that need has a positive impact on people's wellbeing. Learn about the various attachment types in romantic relationships and attachment theory.


What Is Attachment Theory?

The term "attachment theory" refers to the evolutionary and psychological theory of human attachment patterns developed by British psychoanalyst John Bowlby. The relationship between young children and their primary caregivers is examined by Bowlby's theory.

This fundamental early attachment encourages personality development and is a good indicator of how people will perceive others as attachment figures or as potential emotional partners. Throughout their lives, people with secure attachment styles can form enduring romantic relationships.


Attachment Theory in Early Childhood

In order to introduce the idea of the secure base in early childhood development, US American-Canadian psychologist Mary Ainsworth built on John Bowlby's theory of attachment behaviors and the work of other attachment theorists in the 1960s and 1970s.

1. Infant attachment: During infant attachment, a child names a single person as their primary caregiver during the first year of life. One of three possible relationships will exist between the child and that person: a secure attachment (where the child's needs are met), an avoidant attachment (where the child avoids the caregiver out of mistrust), or an anxious attachment (in which the child fears abandonment because of inconsistent parenting).

2. The Strange Situation: To research behavioral systems in child development, Ainsworth created The Strange Situation laboratory. In this procedure, psychologists watch a child's behavior between the ages of nine and thirty months as their caregiver has a conversation with a friend, leaves the child with the friend in plain view, and then comes back to the child. To determine how well the child comprehends their secure attachment, this process is repeated a few times.

3. Human development: The quantity and quality of a child's time with his or her parents are crucial to the child's ability to develop a secure attachment style and a developmental psychology. A child may develop a fear of the unknown and increased insecurity if the main attachment figure abandons them or fails to provide a safe haven for them. Early secure attachment formation is crucial for emotional growth and good mental health.


Attachment Theory in Relationships

Emotional closeness is necessary for romantic relationships between secure individuals. Healthy, intimate relationships allow for easy exchanges of encouragement and validation. People who are securely attached will have a high degree of trustworthiness, independence, and emotional openness.

A lack of emotional openness or trust between partners may indicate insecure attachment styles. People with avoidant attachment styles can change. Restoring frayed attachment bonds requires the help of psychiatry and psychotherapy, as well as interventions in social and romantic relationships where toxic dependency exists.


4 Adult Attachment Styles

Different attachment philosophies will emerge as adults as a result of early development. Researchers on attachment have applied their findings to adult intimate relationships. Adult attachment connections can be found with:

1. Ambivalent attachment: Individuals with attachment security anxiety, also referred to as anxious-avoidant or ambivalent attachment, are excessively needy. Due to their low self-esteem, they are unable to fully trust themselves or their partner, which causes them to experience separation anxiety and persistent worry about both secure attachment and loss of attachment.

2. Dismissive-avoidant attachment: Individuals who have this type of attachment experience avoid exposing themselves to emotional vulnerability and view intimacy as a sign of weakness. A relationship will become unbalanced if a person has this attachment-related problem because they will not rely on others but rather expect them to rely on them.

3. Disorganized attachment, also referred to as disoriented or fearful-avoidant attachment, may refer to partners who have trouble controlling their emotions and who feel unworthy of affection. People who undergo severe trauma, frequently physical or sexual abuse as children, may have an unorganized attachment. People with disorganized attachments can benefit from therapy and a strong social network.

4. Secure attachment: The basis of wholesome adult relationships is a secure attachment system. Partners who practice secure attachment styles meet the emotional needs of others without coercion or abuse. They still have individual differences and interests while still being emotionally dependent on one another. A meaningful relationship is supported by this equilibrium.


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