Relationships The Development Ofattachments

Freud (1940/1963) described the infant-mother relationship as "unique, without parallel, established unalterably for a whole lifetime as the first and strongest love-object and as the prototype of all later love-relations." (p. 45) Although the typical conditions of early care in Western cultures have changed significantly since Freud's day (i.e., fathers, child-care providers, babysitters, and extended family members now share infant care with mothers), Freud's famous assertion draws attention to the importance of the initial attachments a baby develops to caregivers and to their potentially enduring significance. An attachment can be described as an enduring affectional bond that unites two or more people across time and context, and the development of attachment relationships between infants and their caregivers is one of the hallmarks of early socioemotional growth (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978; Bowlby, 1969/1982; Cassidy & Shaver, 1999).

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