Chapter 7: Psychological/Trait Theories of Crime


John Bowlby—Attachment Theory



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John Bowlby—Attachment Theory

  • The development of Attachment Theory is the combined work of Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth.

  • Bowlby formulated the basic propositions of the theory.

  • Ainsworth implemented innovative methodology to test some of Bowlby’s concepts as well as further refinement of the perspective.

  • Bowlby maintained there are seven essential features of this theoretical perspective:

    • Specificity

          • Attachments are selective or “choosy,” these attachments are often focused on one or more individuals, usually with some order of preference.

        • Duration

        • Engagement of Emotion

          • Some of the most intense and passionate emotions are associated with attachment relationships.

        • Course of Development

          • In the first nine months of an infant’s life, he or she develops an attachment to a primary figure. This primary figure is the person who provides the most fulfilling and pleasing social interaction.

        • Learning

          • While learning does have some influence on a person’s attachments, the key component is social interaction.

        • Organization

          • Attachment behavior follows cognitive development as well as interpersonal maturation from birth.

        • Biological Function

          • Attachment behavior has a biological function in terms of survival which is supported by research on various species.



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