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Attachment Styles

We have learned that attachment occurs due to safety needs, but what if these needs were not met? In this discussion, you will consider attachment styles and potential outcomes when conditions are not ideal for attachment, as well as the interaction between attachment styles and temperament.

Kandi is an 11-year-old girl who has lived in Centervale with a foster family, the Jacksons, for one month. She has been in foster care most of her life, having been removed from her biological parents’ care at the age of 10 months. Kandi’s parents were addicted to drugs and alcohol and Kandi spent most of her infancy in her crib or playpen, alone in her room. It is likely that Kandi was exposed to drugs and alcohol in utero. It is unknown whether, in addition to neglect, she was abused sexually or physically. These are possibilities given her parents’ addictions and presence of multiple adults in her house at any given time.

Since Kandi’s arrival, her foster parents have noted several behaviors that seem odd. Despite her sweet personality, Kandi loses her temper easily. She hugs people indiscriminately, while at the same time pushing others away. At times, Kandi avoids her foster mother or seems unconcerned with her not being in the room. At other times, she becomes very distraught and cries frantically when her foster mother goes to the laundry room. She has a difficult time interacting socially with the other children at Centervale Elementary and has only a few friends. At the same time, she clings to her teacher, constantly hugging her, and even trying to kiss her. Although she has been provided with toys, books, and games, Kandi collects odd things such as used staples or the rubber pieces left over from pencils.

Based on your analysis of the scenario, respond to the following:

  • How would you explain the various attachment styles identified based on the work of Bowlby and Ainsworth?
  • Why is it important to understand attachment styles?
  • What disruptions in attachment might be inferred from Kandi’s behavior?
  • Given her early isolation and multiple caregivers, what are some important social development stages or aspects that Kandi may have missed? Discuss concepts such as imitation, social reciprocity, and exploration.
  • How might Kandi’s temperament affect her development?
  • What protective factors might help her?

By Saturday, March 21, 2015, post your response to the appropriate Discussion Area. Through Wednesday, March 25, 2015, review and comment on at least two peers’ responses.

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