Why are we interested in attachments?

Authored by: Peter Fonagy , Nicolas Lorenzini , Chloe Campbell , Patrick Luyten

The Routledge Handbook of Attachment: Theory

Print publication date:  July  2014
Online publication date:  June  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415538268
eBook ISBN: 9781315762098
Adobe ISBN: 9781317647157

10.4324/9781315762098.ch2

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Abstract

Attachment theory describes the ways in which individuals handle their most intimate relationships with their parents, children and life-partners: their attachment figures. When people are at their most vulnerable, frightened or unwell, they will, in different ways, seek comfort and help. This seeking out of help, and the different styles used to obtain help, constitute the attachment process. Attachment, at an evolutionary level, is a basic adaptation for survival – it is the mechanism by which babies elicit essential care. As we understand more, however, about the interface of brain development and early psychosocial experience it becomes clear that the evolutionary role of the attachment relationship goes far beyond giving physical protection to the human infant.

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