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Theories of Attachment

According to attachment theory and research, there are two fundamental ways in which people differ from one another in the way they think about relationships. First, some people are more anxious than others. People who are high in attachment-related anxiety tend to worry about whether their partners really love them and often fear rejection. People low on this dimension are much less worried about such matters. Second, some people are more avoidant than others. People who are high in attachment-related avoidance are less comfortable depending on others and opening up to others.

Explain, based on what you know about attachment theory, how you think genetic and environmental factors have influenced the nature of people with high attachment-related anxiety and low attachment-related avoidance.

Describe how and why this kind of attachment style affects their cognitive and social development.

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Introduction

Research suggests that parents in different cultures have different parenting styles with diverse behavioral characteristics linked to the attachment theory. The attachment theory demonstrates that individual variations in patterns of behavior can be explained by differences in the responses of caregivers. The research also indicates that cultural differences play a major role in these parenting styles that have been associated with care giving practices as explained by attachment theory (Gerval, 2009). For example, researchers have contributed child-rearing practices to cultural disparities in attachment patterns. Studies are presented that demonstrate relationships that guide the individual's emotional states, social experiences and cognitive development. The attachment theory as it relates to genetic and environmental influence is the focus of this discussion.

(1) Explain, based on what you know about attachment theory, how you think genetic and environmental factors have influenced the nature of people with high attachment-related anxiety and low attachment-related avoidance.

Studies investigating the interaction of genes with parenting and environmental influences in early relationship development have demonstrated that early attachment reflects a specific relationship between an infant and his or her caregiver. Attachment styles are considered for survival and physical and mental development. For example, early adolescents show a specific relationship between an infant and their caregivers. According to Spangler, Johann, Ronai and Zimmermann (2009), the attachment system may be conceptualized as a biologically based behavioral system that regulates a child's emotional state due to their proximity to the caregiver (e.g., Bowlby, 1969 as cited in Spangler et al. As Spangler et al. explain, maternal sensitivity has been identified as an important developmental precursor of attachment security. For example, in regards to phenotypic behavior, infants who are disorganized have a restricted ability to resolve resulting anxiety in a strange situation and show deficits in self-regulation (p. 954). In his study of mothers and their interactions with their children, Bowlby (1973 as cited in Marmarosh, Whipple, Schettler, Pinhas, Wolf, & Sayit (2009) proposed that children develop internal working models of interpersonal expectations that influence all of their later relationships. These relationships guide the individual's emotional states, social experiences and self-understanding.

Research findings ...

Solution Summary

This solution describes how genetic and environmental factors have influenced the nature of people with high attachment-related anxiety and low attachment-related avoidance.

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