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Attachment and Bonding

  1. Daniel H. Hughes

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0091

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Hughes, D. H. 2010. Attachment and Bonding. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. Lebanon, PA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


“Attachment and bonding” is a phrase that one now naturally thinks of in describing the early intimate interactions between parent and infant. “Attachment” is the more scientific term that originally referred to an infant's relationship with his or her parent. As attachment theory and research developed, it became applied to individuals of all ages when describing relationships in which they turn to another for safety and the felt-sense of safety. “Bonding” or “affectional bonds” is taken to refer to an ongoing relationship with a specific person that is emotionally meaningful and creates a desire to maintain mutual contact. Using the terms in this manner, a mother would not be considered to be “attached” to her infant, because she would not turn to her infant for safety. Seeking safety from the other may or may not be a feature in an “affectional bond,” whereas it is always a central component of an attachment relationship. In the most important book in the attachment field, Handbook of Attachment (Cassidy & Shaver, 1999), “bonding” is not even listed in the subject index.


  • attachment;
  • child development;
  • parent-child relationship