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PSYC FPX 2700 Assessment 5 Attachment Theory


Capella University

PSYC FPX 2700 Child Development

Prof. Name


John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory

John Bowlby, a notable psychoanalyst, asserted that early childhood experiences are crucial in shaping behavioral and mental health issues (Mcleod, 2017). He was a pioneer in the development of attachment theory, which focuses on the deep and lasting emotional bonds that form between individuals (Berk). Bowlby suggested that these bonds begin at birth and continue to influence behavior throughout adulthood (Cassidy, Jones, & Shaver, 2013). He believed that attachment relationships act as a blueprint for future social interactions, and disruptions in these bonds can lead to significant negative outcomes (Mcleod, 2017). Mary Ainsworth expanded on Bowlby’s work by identifying three primary attachment styles: secure, insecure-avoidant, and insecure-resistant (Mcleod, 2018).

Phases of Attachment

Pre-Attachment (Birth-6 weeks): In this initial phase, infants engage with everyone around them and do not show distress when separated from unfamiliar individuals.

Attachment (6 weeks to 8 months): During this stage, infants start to distinguish between their primary and secondary caregivers and recognize familiar and unfamiliar faces.

Clear-Cut Attachment (8-24 months): Infants may show separation anxiety when away from their primary caregivers but remain sociable towards others.

Formation of a Reciprocal Relationship (24 months+): As children develop self-soothing abilities, their separation anxiety decreases (Berk).

Case Study: Marie

Marie, a three-month-old baby, displays typical developmental milestones such as holding her head up, grasping toys, and reacting happily to family members. However, her recent separation anxiety following her mother’s return to work is consistent with Bowlby’s phases of attachment theory (Berk).

Marie’s Development

Physical Development: Marie’s weight and length are within normal ranges. She has achieved milestones like head control and independent toy manipulation.

Cognitive Development: Marie shows recognition of family members’ faces and voices.

Social Development: Marie displays social behaviors such as smiling at family members and experiencing separation anxiety (Murray et al., 2016).

Attachment Theory Applied to Marie’s Development

Marie’s behaviors align with Bowlby’s attachment theory phases. As she progresses through each stage, she exhibits typical attachment behaviors like recognizing familiar faces and developing separation anxiety (Berk).

Atypical or Typical Development?

Marie’s developmental progress aligns with Bowlby’s attachment theory, indicating typical development. Milestones such as social smiling and toy manipulation are in line with typical infant development (Michaelsen, Lauritzen, & Mortensen, 2009).

PSYC FPX 2700 Assessment 5 Attachment Theory


Berk, L. E. Infants and Children. [Capella]. Retrieved from

Cassidy, J., Jones, J. D., & Shaver, P. R. (2013). Contributions of attachment theory and research: A framework for future research, translation, and policy. Development and Psychopathology, 25(4 Pt 2), 1415-1434. doi:10.1017/S0954579413000692

Mcleod, S. (2017). John Bowlby | Maternal Deprivation Theory | Simply Psychology. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from

McLeod, S. (2018). Mary Ainsworth. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from

Michaelsen, K. F., Lauritzen, L., & Mortensen, E. L. (2009). Effects of Breast-feeding on Cognitive Function. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 199–215.

PSYC FPX 2700 Assessment 5 Attachment Theory

Murray, L., De Pascalis, L., Bozicevic, L., Hawkins, L., Sclafani, V., & Ferrari, P. F. (2016). The functional architecture of mother-infant communication, and the development of infant social expressiveness in the first two months. Scientific Reports, 6(1), 1–10.

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