Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Corr I 248
Forces/attachment theory/Bowlby/Shaver/Mikulincer: According to Bowlby (1973)(1), the development of adult attachment patterns is constrained by two forces:
(a) ‘homeothetic forces’ (Waddington 1957)(2) that buffer changes in attachment patterns from infancy to adulthood, making it less likely that they will deviate from early working models, and
(b) ‘destabilizing forces’ that encourage deviation from early working models given powerful experiences that demand revision and updating of attachment representations.
Corr I 247
Bowlby borrowed these concepts from Waddington’s (1957)(2) epigenetic landscape model.
Attachment theory/Shaver/Mikulincer: Attachment research has provided evidence for both homeothetic and destabilizing forces. With regard to homeothetic forces, several studies have examined the stability of attachment patterns in infancy (as assessed in the Strange Situation (>Situation/Ainsworth); Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters and Wall 1978)(3) over periods ranging from one month to twenty years.
Fraley (2002)(4) meta-analysed these studies and found moderate levels of stability in attachment classification: a mean correlation of .35 for studies that examined attachment patterns at one and four years and a slightly lower correlation for studies comparing attachment in adolescence with attachment in the Strange Situation years earlier.



1. Bowlby, J. 1973. Attachment and loss, vol. II, Separation: anxiety and anger. New York: Basic Books
2. Waddington, C. H. 1957. The strategy of the genes. London: Allen and Unwin
3. Ainsworth, M. D. S., Blehar, M. C., Waters, E. and Wall, S. 1978. Patterns of attachment: assessed in the Strange Situation and at home. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum
4. Fraley, R. C. 2002. Attachment stability from infancy to adulthood: meta-analysis and dynamic modeling of developmental mechanisms, Personality and Social Psychology Review 6: 123–51


Phillip R. Shaver and Mario Mikulincer, “Developmental, psychodynamic and optimal-functioning aspects”, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Attachment Theory
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-07-20
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