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Brain Snacks: Attachment Theory

Attachment: What is it?

To put it simply, attachment refers to the emotional bond between two beings–this can be between mother and child, husband and wife, or between friends. From a psychological standpoint, the theory of attachment, according to John Bowlby, is when a child seeks proximity to a specific figure (usually their primary caregiver), especially during situations when a child is “frightened, tired, or ill” (quoted in Hong & Park, 2012). Attachment becomes valid when the caregiver shows nurturance and a positive response towards the needs of the being seeking attachment. For instance, a child can successfully become attached to their mother when the mother shows nurturing behavior and positively responds to their child’s needs, usually and initially through feeding (Cherry, 2019). Attachment manifests in the child through security; when the child shows confidence in their caregiver through the assurance that they have someone to return to during a bout of independence, then that is how we know that a secure attachment is formed.

Factors that influence attachment (from Cherry, 2019)

  • Child must have someone to attach to

  • Quality of caregiving (must address the child’s needs)

Long term effect of secure attachment

As we dive deeper into Attachment over the following weeks, we will be tackling the various attachment styles, the stages of attachment, temperament, and parenting styles. Learning about these will help us to understand the theory of attachment so that we will know how to apply it in our respective family lives.


Cherry, K. (2019). What is attachment theory? The importance of early emotional bonds. Retrieved from

Hong, Y. R. & Park, J. S. (2012). Impact of attachment, temperament and parenting on human development. Korean Journal of Pediatrics, 55(12), 449.

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