Emotional Attachment vs Psychological Attachment
Attachment is the emotional bond or tie that a person feels towards another person. These bonds are common between adults and children and the primary caregivers, which are mostly mothers. These ties are normally reciprocal and are based upon mutual feelings of safety, security and protection. In general, children get emotionally attached to their care givers primarily for safety and survival. Biologically speaking the aim of attachment is survival, while psychologically, it is security.
Infants tend to make attachments with any person who is responsive to their needs and interacts with them socially. In case of strong emotional attachments, people feel anxiety; if they are separated with the person they are emotionally attached with and are full of despair and sadness. Anxiety also results from rejection or abandonment.
Emotional attachment is a tool which helps infants and kids to gain self confidence. It has been observed that when there primary caregiver, mother in most cases, is around, they feel a sense of security and begin to explore the world in a confident manner but they are apprehensive and insecure in the case of any emotional attachment which is reflected in their personality later in life when they themselves are adults.
Infants use crying as a tool to summon the attention of their caregiver, but by the age of 2 they realize that their caregiver has many more responsibilities and he learns to wait and bide for the time when the caregiver would turn his of her attention to him.
Bowlby was the psychologist who proposed the theory of attachment. This theory was criticized by many leading lights in the field of psychology but it still remains a force to reckon with, when it comes to understanding the underlying causes of human behavior in terms of emotional and psychological attachment.
By the time a child attains the age of 4, he is no longer bothered by separation with his care giver as he begins to understand the time plan for separation and reunion as when he begins to attend school. Since the child is secure in his feeling that he will get back to his mother, he starts to develop relations with his peers in school. Soon the child is ready for longer periods of separation. The child attains a greater degree of independence and he is now prepared to show affection and his own role in the relationship.
These feelings of attachments carry well into adulthood and were studied by Cindy Hazan and Phillip Shaver in the 80’s. They found that adults that had secure attachments with another adult or adults tended to have more positive views about themselves and were in general more confident that those who did not have strong and secure emotional attachments with other adults. Adults who have low levels of attachments were also those who were impulsive; mistrust their partners and also tend to view themselves as unworthy.