Major Movements in Psychology

Attachment Theory

What kind of parenting results in insecurely attached babies?

Mothers of avoidant babies were shown to be reliably unresponsive to the babies’ cues in Ainsworth’s home studies. Avoidant attachment behavior is considered to reflect a down regulation of attachment in response to a reliably unresponsive mother. Mothers of resistant babies were found to be unreliably responsive to the child’s attachment cues in the home setting. Thus resistant attachment may be seen as a strategy to maximize their mother’s attention by ratcheting up their attachment system. Disorganized attachment is more often found in children who have been abused or whose mothers have significant emotional pathology. These babies cannot find a consistent strategy to deal with their parents’ erratic or even frightening behavior. Thus their attachment behavior is disorganized.


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