Attachment in Infancy and Outcomes

The attachment between children and their caregivers has been studied for many years. Theories have been developed about attachment styles, parenting techniques that foster secure attachment, and the effects on social development. Dr. Daniel Siegel, a child and adolescent psychiatrist from UCLA, has written a number of books on early child development. He states that ‘attachment experiences early in life appear to have direct influences upon various basic processes, including forms of memory, narrative, emotional regulation, and interpersonal behavior.’

Two students from Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario – Dana Greenbaum and Andrea Wilkinson – have recently produced a video called ‘The Role of Attachment in Infancy and Physical Health Outcomes‘. This video has won the Psychology Foundation of Canada’s scholarship competition. A number of mental health professionals from Toronto are featured in the video, discussing attachment, stress, and parenting. Dr. Judith Andersen discusses the physiological stress response that happens in an individual. She states that if the stress response goes on too long in a child, it is thought to cause the child’s ‘system’ to malfunction. Insecure attachment has been linked to a number of negative outcomes throughout the lifespan, including depression, anxiety, withdrawal, aggression and physical illness. Dr. Leslie Atkinson makes a number of suggestions that are important in optimizing the relationship between a parent and child. These include being sensitive to your child’s need for affection and enjoying your child, while at the same time balancing your own needs and attending to the needs of the couple. I hope you enjoy this video.