the impact of attachment as a child through adulthood|Legit essays

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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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 Psychology6

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



some differences between infant and adult attachment styles, as adult relationships tend to be more complex and dynamic compared to child-caregiver relationships. For example, adults may have different expectations and needs from their partners, and they may have experienced different life events that have influenced their attachment styles.

Hazan and Shaver (1990) identified three adult attachment styles that seem to map well to infant attachment styles: secure, avoidant, and anxious/ambivalent. Secure adults are those who have a positive view of themselves and others, and they are comfortable with emotional intimacy. Avoidant adults tend to be dismissive of emotions and avoid closeness with others, while anxious/ambivalent adults are preoccupied with relationships and seek excessive reassurance and validation from their partners.

While there may be some continuity in attachment styles across the lifespan, experiences after infancy can also alter one’s attachment style. For example, a person who had a secure attachment style as a child may develop an insecure attachment style as an adult due to negative experiences in their relationships or other life events such as trauma, loss, or abuse. On the other hand, an insecurely attached person may develop a more secure attachment style through positive relationship experiences, therapy, or self-reflection.

Attachment styles can have a significant impact on one’s self-concept and mental health status. Individuals with a secure attachment style tend to have better mental health outcomes, higher levels of resilience, and more positive self-concepts. In contrast, individuals with insecure attachment styles may be at higher risk for mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and borderline personality disorder. Attachment styles can also impact an individual’s ability to form and maintain healthy relationships, both romantic and platonic. Understanding one’s attachment style and how it may be impacting their life can be an important step in improving their overall well-being.

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