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Attachment Theory

  1. Carol George

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0094

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

George, C. 2010. Attachment Theory. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–4.

Author Information

  1. Mills College, Oakland, CA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Attachment theory defines an evolutionary-based relationship between a child and a parent figure. Attachment is a biologically based behavioral system that evolved in ways that influence and organize human motivational, emotional, and cognitive and memory processes. The relationship is conceived to develop initially in infancy and contribute to development, other relationships, risk, and mental health throughout the life span (Bowlby, 1969/1982, 1973, 1980; Cassidy & Shaver, 2008). Attachment has become a shorthand term that connotes a complex set of interrelated patterns of behavior and thinking directed toward a parent figure that is wiser, protective, and caring.


  • attachment;
  • defense;
  • adults;
  • children;
  • development