a child and is a healthy adult, are there experiences that might alter their attachment style|My homework helper

Posted: February 18th, 2023

This is a a good start on the impact of attachment as a child through adulthood. Did you come across anything in your reading regarding what might change someone’s attachment style when they are already an adult? For example, if the person had a secure attachment as a child and is a healthy adult, are there experiences that might alter their attachment style?

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Topic B

Hazan and Shaver (1990) have done research on adult attachment where they describe avoidant, anxious/ambivalent, and secure adults. Do these adult styles seem to map well to the infant attachment styles? How much continuity in styles would you expect to exist across the lifespan? Discuss experiences after infancy that might alter one’s attachment style? Do these attachments really impact self-concept and mental health status?

The attachment theory in relation to developmental theory affirms that humans tend to be born with the urge to develop a close emotional bond with their caregivers, and often this form of bond tends to develop within the first six months of the baby’s life if the care provider is responding appropriately (Hazan & Shaver, 1990). In general, adult attachment styles tend to align well with infant attachment styles as adult relationships tend to have numerous similarities with the children-caregiver interaction. Just like children, adults also feel secure when they are in a positive relationship.

In regard to the attachment theory, early caregiving experiences tend to have a significant impact on an individual’s maladaptation and adaptation across the lifespan through the organization of personal and relational developmental processes (Hazan & Shaver, 1990). Based on this approach, the continuity of attachment styles is expected to be present in all the stages of life. However, the attachment styles may differ based on the environmental and social aspects which impact the diverse life experiences.

Some of the experiences that may change a person’s attachment style after infancy may be parental mental health issues, the experience of trauma and maltreatment, parental substance abuse, and experiences of abuse, among other related aspects. The experiences tend to have a significant impact on the child bond, and in turn, they have a negative effect on the child psychologically and emotionally into adulthood(Hazan & Shaver, 1990).

The attachment bond tends to have a significant impact on an individual’s self-concept and mental health status as they influence both emotional and psychological issues if these bonds are disrupted or lost (Hazan & Shaver, 1990).

What is the theory of mind? How is it assessed? What role do desire and desire-belief psychology play in this process? What developmental changes occur in acquiring a theory of mind? What factors affect its emergence?

The theory of the mind may be described as the capability of inferring and understanding another person’s mental state, such as beliefs, intentions, thoughts, and feelings, and utilizing the information to determine human behaviour. The theory tends to major focus on developing the children’s understanding of individuals as mental beings who have desires, emotions, intentions, and beliefs and whose interactions and actions may be explained based on their mental states(Airenti, 2015).

The theory of mind may be evaluated using the false-belief task or the theory of mind assessment scale. A false-belief task is an approach that focuses on evaluating the child’s understanding that different people have different beliefs regarding the world, which may not be true(Airenti, 2015). On the other hand, the theory of mind assessment scale tends to be a semi-structured interview that is often conducted among adolescents and adults.

Desire may be described as the ability to get what you want. On the other hand, belief-desire in psychology may be described as the idea that ordinary people tend to understand other ordinary people based on the assumptions that other individuals’ behaviour is contributed by their cognition (Airenti, 2015). Thus, in the theory of mind, desire and belief-desire in psychology tend to play a major role in developing a better understanding of an individual’s behaviours based on their belief, thoughts, and feelings, among other related aspects.

The developmental sequence of the theory of mind commences from a basic desire theory to a belief-desire theory, from true beliefs to false beliefs, and from developing an understanding of the first-order belief to second-order belief(Airenti, 2015).

Some of the aspects that tend to impact the occurrence of the theory of mind are a child’s language competencies, family learning environment, and prenatal and parental stress(Airenti, 2015).




Airenti, G. (2015). Theory of mind: A new perspective on the puzzle of belief ascription.  Frontiers in Psychology6https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01184

Hazan, C., & Shaver, P. R. (1990). Love and work: An attachment-theoretical perspective.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology59(2), 270-280.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.59.2.270



Hazan and Shaver’s (1990) research on adult attachment has described three main attachment styles: avoidant, anxious/ambivalent, and secure. These styles do seem to map well to the infant attachment styles of secure, insecure-avoidant, and insecure-resistant (Ainsworth et al., 1978). For instance, adults with a secure attachment style tend to have had a secure attachment with their caregiver as an infant, whereas adults with an avoidant attachment style may have had an insecure-avoidant attachment as an infant.

Although there is some continuity in attachment styles across the lifespan, experiences after infancy can alter one’s attachment style. For example, a person who had a secure attachment style as a child may develop an insecure attachment style if they experience a significant loss or trauma in their adult life. Alternatively, an individual with an insecure attachment style may develop a more secure attachment style if they experience a positive, supportive relationship in their adulthood (Sroufe, Egeland, Carlson, & Collins, 2005).

Attachment styles do impact self-concept and mental health status. For instance, adults with a secure attachment style tend to have higher levels of self-esteem, emotional regulation, and interpersonal functioning, whereas those with an insecure attachment style tend to experience more psychological distress, including anxiety and depression (Mikulincer & Shaver, 2007). Additionally, attachment styles can impact one’s ability to form and maintain relationships, including romantic relationships, friendships, and professional relationships. Therefore, understanding one’s attachment style can be useful in improving their interpersonal functioning and overall mental health.

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