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The Nature of Childs Ties

Cassidy, J. (1999). The nature of

the childs ties. In J. Cassidy & P. R.
Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment:
Theory, research, and clinical
applications (pp. 3-20). New York:
Guilford Press.

An Evolutionary Perspective
Proximity to parents facilitates protection
of children.
Infants are predisposed to seek proximity
during distress.
Attachment, therefore, contributes to
evolutionary survival.
Within this framework, attachment is
considered a normal and healthy
characteristic of humans throughout the
lifespan, rather than a sign of immaturity
that needs to be outgrown (Cassidy,
1999, p. 5).

Dr. Ronald J.

The Attachment Behavioral System

Attachment behavioral system refers to a
particular repertoires of behaviors that an
individual uses.
Attachment occurs even when physical
needs are not met or the child is abused.
The attachment behavioral system is a
goal-corrected system which is flexible.
[T]he flexible use of a variety of
attachment behaviors, depending on the
circumstances, affords the infant greater
efficiency in goal-corrected responses
(Cassidy, 1999, p. 5).

Dr. Ronald J.

Individual Differences
Although there is a biological basis for
attachment and all children become attached
(even to abusive parents), not all children
become securely attached.
Secure attachment occurs when a child has a
mental representation of the attachment figure
as available and responsive when needed.
Infants are considered insecurely attached
when they lack such a representation
(Cassidy, 1999, p. 7).
The Role of Context
Activation of the attachment behavioral system

is influenced by
conditions in the child
conditions in the environment.

In sum, proximity seeking is activated when

the infant receives information (from both

internal and external sources) that a goal (the
desired distance from the mother) is exceeded.
It remains activated until the goal is achieved,
and then it stops (Cassidy, 1999, p. 6).

Dr. Ronald J.

Individual Differences (cont.)

The Role of Emotion
Intense emotions are associated with the

formation, the maintenance, the disruption,

and the renewal of attachment relationships
(Cassidy, 1999, p. 6).
Emotions contribute to motivation to seek

The Role of Cognition

Children learn to use specific attachment

behaviors with specific people in specific

Children develop internal working models
that help them anticipate the future.

Dr. Ronald J.

Attachment in Relation to Other

Behavioral Systems
The Exploratory System
The exploratory behavioral system promotes

survival because curiosity helps children learn

about and adapt to their environment.
This system reduces attachment behavior

The Fear System: the fear behavioral

system promotes safety and, as a result,
engages the attachment system.
The Sociable System:
[T]he organization of the biologically based,

survival-promoting tendency to be sociable

with others (Cassidy, 1999, p. 9).
This system is ferent from the attachment

The Caregiving System

Parent repertoire of behaviors that are

engaged to respond to attachment-seeking in

Like other systems, it is activated by internal
and external cues.

Dr. Ronald J.

The Attachment Bond

Attachment bond refers to an affectional tie:
this bond is not between two people; it is
instead a bond that one individual has to
another individual who is perceived as
stronger and wiser A person can be
attached to a person who is not in turn
attached to him or her (Cassidy, 1999, p. 12).
Cassidy reported several important
propositions about attachment theory:
The attachment bond is only one feature of a

parent-child relationship. Caregivers also

serve as playmates, teachers, and
Children experience multiple attachments but
the quality of the attachment bond is not the
same in each relationship. The quality of the
bond is influenced by amount of interaction,
quality of care provided, and emotional
investment of the caregiver.

The attachment bond cannot be inferred from

the presence or absence of attachment

Dr. Ronald J.

Multiple Attachments
Children form more than one attachment
and strength of attachment seems to be
influenced by the extent to which the
caregiver provides sensitive care.
The potential number of attachment
figures is not limtless.
Although children have multiple
attachment figures, they do not treat all
attachment figures as equivalent.

Dr. Ronald J.