001). this paper will explore the theoretic foundations of attachment in early childhood, and its implications on mental health while providing a case study analysis in support of the theoretic arguments.
Individuals often have unique ways of relating in intimate relationships, particularly to various attachment figures such as one’s parents, romantic partners and children, for the purposes of safety and survival (Mauricio, Jenn &. Lopez, 2007), and this is the scope of attachment theory. The Attachment theory posits that the affective infant-caregiver bond influences the infant’s emerging self-concept and developing view of the social context (Levy, 2005). Goldenson, Geffner, Foster and Clipson (2007) highlight that infants internalize early experiences with caregivers as the models of their self and others. From the moment a child is born, its interactions with the primary caregivers does form the foundation for the development of personality and this interaction also fashions later close relationships, expectations of acceptance in social groups as well as reaction to rejection. The attachment figure needs to constantly provide stability and safety to the infant in times of severe stress to enable the establishment of a secure base that will allow the infant to explore their surroundings (Schmitt, Lahti &. Piha, 2008). The repeated interactions of the infant with ‘significant others’ in social relations informs its mental models of itself and others (Lyddon &. Sherry, 2001). the child’s capacities to understand, express emotions, regulate stress, and control attention are based on the early attachment relations. The behavioral patterns of infants in strange situations highlights four distinct attachment patterns namely secure/autonomous, anxious/preoccupied, avoidant/dismissing, and disorganized types, which corresponds to the attachment styles in adults, secure, avoidant, anxious and unresolved respectively. Securely attached infants are uncomfortable