Major Movements in Psychology

Attachment Theory

What does it mean to be securely attached?

A securely attached child (B baby in Ainsworth’s system) showed interest in the toys when the mother was in the room. Some but not all babies showed mild to moderate distress in the separation episodes. Most importantly, in the reunion episodes, the child directly sought out contact with the mother. If the child was distressed after the separation, contact with the mother was effective in soothing the child. This pattern of behavior is seen to reflect the child’s felt security in the mother’s availability and responsivity to the child’s attachment needs.


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