Ontogeny of Attachment in Middle Childhood: Conceptualization of Normative Changes

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    In following some of the ideas set forth by J. Bowlby (e.g. 1973) regarding the ontogeny of the attachment behavioral system and suggestions and insights by others, the author draws attention to several ontogenetic processes that might be expected to occur in middle childhood. The following analysis is not intended as a conservative approach to theory building but as a somewhat exploratory and hopefully challenging proposal that includes various suggestions for empirical testing. the attachment behavioral system is seen as a "safety regulating system." Namely, its main function is conceptualized as promoting safety, both physically and psychologically, in the context of close relationships. In general, two major classes of events will activate it: the presence of potential danger or stress (internal or external) and threat to the accessibility and or availability of the attachment figure. Termination of its activity will result when the situation is experienced as resulting in feeling comforted (not stressed) and secure by the actions or the presence of an attachment figure. These are considered the set goals of the system. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAttachment In Middle Childhood
    EditorsK. A. Kerns, R. A. Richardson
    Place of PublicationNew York, NY, US
    PublisherThe Guilford Press
    Number of pages23
    ISBN (Print)1-59385-121-9
    StatePublished - 2005


    • *Attachment Behavior
    • *Childhood Development
    • Safety


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