Science Bulletins: Attachment Theory—Understanding the Essential Bond


>>James J. Warfield: John Bowlby was a British psychologist and he became extremely interested in child, mother separation during the bombing of London. The bombing of London a lot of parents sent their kids to the safety of the countryside and the kids were with safe people, they were well cared for, they were well fed, but they still had a very negative response to the separation from their mothers. At that point he looked at the biology that was emerging in primatology. A monkey infant gets almost all it’s nutrition in the first two or three months of life from it’s mother, from lactation. But the infant who’s weaned, still seeks proximity, you’ll see the infant reach out and touch the mom’s tail or touch it’s coat, there’s a continuing life long desire for proximity and contact and Bowlby and others have seen that proximity seeking and that contact seeking as being corner stones of what they call ‘Attachment Behaviour’. [Music]>>Howard Steele: In the first part of the 20th century behaviourists and psychoanalysts claimed that babies loved their parents because you don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you. The innovation of Bowlby was to observe that, “that can’t be all” That what the child needs not only needs to be fed, but also to be held by an understanding, sensitive and responsive adult. and that optimal, social, mental health outcomes will follow from that. In sixty or more years on now we have a half century of evidence showing that he was more or less right.>>Anne Murphy: Our programme at the Centre for Babies, Toddlers and Families is really based on the theories of John Bowlby. With the idea that we really need to help parents and children form a secure attachment. So often times families are referred to us when the parents have had very difficult childhoods themselves and are really struggling in this role of being a parent.>>Pearl Castillo: I’m like I say, “I’ve never had a mommy” I was never taught how to take care of anybody or myself So it was like very hard. Like, I wouldn’t have patience, like the cryin’ like I would you know I would scream at her and stuff like that. You know and…>>Murphy: For many parents who really were neglected as children hearing a baby cry triggers in them their own feelings in them of that unrelenting crying that they did So for Pearl it was very, very difficult for her to be able to meet her child’s needs. [Mother talking to child] We’ve partnered with The Centre for Attachment Research at The New School for a series of ‘attachment measures’ to test that our intervention is effective.>>Miriam Steele: So, come on in Pearl, have a chair, just put her down and let her have a go at whatever she wants to do in here.>>Castillo: Ok, ok. [music]>>Miriam Steele: We measure the attachment relationship with a laboratory scenario that takes twenty minutes The critical point is where the mother gets a cue to leave the room [Knocking on door]>>Castillo: Goodbye, baby girl. See you later. [door closes]>>Miriam Steele: Some children that look on the outside like they are very independent and seem not to notice but physiologically are very aroused and stay aroused even in the presence of when that care-giver returns. By contrast, the securely attached child, often notices, cries when the care-giver leaves [Child crying] and when the care-giver comes back, easily turns to the care-giver and looks to the care-giver to be comforted and then they can get back to some kind of homeostasis. We think this response is one of the hallmarks of mental health [Pearl Castillo talking to child]>>Bruce McEwen: What is so interesting about childhood development is that we know a lot about the long term, life long consequences of early life adversity ranging from psychological effects like substance abuse and depression but also biological consequences like increased incidents of cardiovascular disease diabetes, and whole host of other physical aliments. One of the things we know, that can lead down the path toward cardiovascular disease is chronic inflamation. Inflamation is a biological response that helps the body counter-act an infection. The body produces chemicals which activate the immune system and allow it to get rid of the infective agent. When the infection is contained. The body calls forth cortisol to try to turn down the inflammation. Now, this is all good, but there are situations especially connected with traumatic experiences in which that cortisol response doesn’t happen. So, these people who had these adverse early life experiences had elevated levels of inflammation which is at the heart of cardiovascular disease. So, cortisol is very important. [music]>>Howard Steele: The way that we measure cortisol is through a saliva sample obtained on arrival at the lab and at the end of the lab visit and our goal is to over time, impact patterns of cortisol Our initial measurements of these families when they were beginning the intervention we see very low levels of Attachment Security as measured by their behavior. But when we look at families who have participated for 6 months or more We see Attachment Security at 70 % The same level seen world wide Because higher levels of Attachment Security correlate with more normal cortisol responses. We’re hoping to see that cortisol levels change as a result of the intervention. The main thing was it helped me focus on my child. You know like, before I couldn’t tolerate the crying, it all made me crazy and I used to be depressed But now I made it, sometimes I can’t take it, but you know, I know, I know better now. [playful chatter with child]>>McEwen: What have we learned from studies of early life adversity? What we’ve learned is to take it seriously. That these are real biological issues, that early attachment is vital to everything else that happens. Something that is an inevitable part of who we are as human beings

28 thoughts on “Science Bulletins: Attachment Theory—Understanding the Essential Bond”

  1. Mama is the best thing in the world. My mom has been dead for 33 years now. If I have surgery, and wake up in pain; I am calling out for my mother. Even at 55, you still want your mother; or at least, I do.

  2. my mother is a very emotionally absent woman. I have felt sad about this everyday of my life and am very jealous of people with healthy relationships with their moms. But being older and wiser now, I am trying my best to find peace with all this.

  3. I have the same situation and I understand exactly how you feel. It feels like a constant numbing depression. The best thing that you can do for yourself is try to understand your situation as best as you can, this way life is less dark and confusing… knowledge is power. All the best.

  4. sounds like you had a strong attachment with your mother, or at least she was emotionally available. For those of us with an emotionally unavailable mother, she would be the last person to call out for.

  5. If all parents understood this, perhaps there would be longer periods of time that one of the parents would stay home longer with the infant, perhaps until kindergarten. This makes it very difficult certainly for a single parent and other caregivers. This is why studies like this are invaluable to the education process that needs to begin in the home long before children reaching puberty. Procreation accountability is very weak in our society today.. with hope, faith, and love, we will thrive!

  6. i have to admit, this has a lot of truth in it for me. i wasn't nurtured as a child ( to be honest, i had an horrific childhood)and now have depression, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic bronchitis. i also suffered from alcohol abuse.

  7. i like that this experiment intervention, goes beyond talks more about the parents too. and what they had experienced in their childhood. i like it!

  8. Interesting. I've been researching anti-inflammatory foods recently. Apparently ginger and turmeric are good.

  9. My husband's father was among these children and he reported being split up from his sister and from the age of 10 or younger, being put to work on the farm, which being a boy from London, he was not used to.

  10. I always cry in these video's…I love children and these stages in their lives are so important. These precious children become adults and SO many adults are walking around with deeeep childhood wounds. It hurts my heart. I pray the Lord heals them…Heals us all. Amen

  11. This is too sad I can't watch 😭

    I went to lots of daycares, had babysitters and friend's parents watch me. Not sure why some people even have kids….

  12. My sweet little one absolutely melts down if I walk in the other room. For a while I've been worried about this… It breaks my heart that she gets so sad if I'm just in the other room taking a shower while she's hanging with Daddy. This video is making me realize that's actually a good thing, we are definitely securely attached ❤️

  13. I think it’s important to teach avoidant moms the stages of child development and to let her know that her child will eventually outgrow that intense level of neediness. The mom needs to know that things won’t always be this way and the more responsive she is the more the child can detach. I think a lot of these moms are afraid that if they always meet the baby’s needs the more clingy the child will be, when it’s actually the opposite.

  14. Just look to nature. You don't see monkeys putting their child in another room, or going to work and other separation issues

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *