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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL relationships with parents or other primary caregivers will shape the way that child will interact in future relationships. The theory was developed in the years following World War II by psychologist John Bowlby as a result of his work with many disruptive or struggling children who had been orphaned or otherwise traumatized during the war. Bowlby and his student Mary Ainsworth developed a model that explained how children create very early “attachment relationships” with their primary caregivers. One famous attachment study by Tronick and colleagues (1978) involved moth- ers who would suddenly become unresponsive and expressionless toward their infants for a period of time (called the “still face experiment”); based on the infant’s response to this sudden withdrawal and then the mother’s resumed interaction, researchers identified the infant’s “attachment style”; that is, the infant’s response showed what the infant already expected from the mother’s interaction based on previous experience. While infants with secure attachments naturally became distressed by the unusual interac- tion, others with insecure attachment styles appeared to expect inconsis- tent interaction or to be ignored completely. This study and earlier research by Ainsworth are the basis for attachment theory. • Secure attachment describes the attachment style of a child who sees the caregiver as a “secure base” from which to explore and also return to for comfort, based on a caregiver who is available, responsive, and consistently supportive. This child is better able to balance his emotions, create meaningful relationships, and securely handle stress as his brain develops. • Insecure avoidant attachment describes the style of a child who tries to avoid dependence on other relationships for support, based on a caregiver who is emotionally or physically distant from the child’s needs. This child may appear “lost in her own world,” or emotion- ally distant, because she does not expect caregivers to respond to her emotional needs. • Insecure ambivalent/resistant attachment describes the style of a child forming inconsistent relational patterns of emotional clinging and rejection or frustration, based on a caregiver who is also inconsis- tently supportive or interactive. One example of this type of attach- ment can be a child who is extremely wary of strangers yet also does not seem to be comforted by his parent’s return. 12 Chapter One COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL