Attachment refers to a child’s relationship with and need for its caregiver(s), which sets the tone for all future relationship patterns and interactions. There are considered to be three main types of attachment:
1. Secure: The child uses its parents as a secure base from which to explore the world. If the parent leaves, the child becomes upset, but is happy and easily comforted when the parent returns.
2. Anxious-resistant: The child explores little, preferring to remain close to the parents. He or she becomes highly upset when the parent leaves, and resists interaction with the parent upon his or her return.
3. Anxious-avoidant: Similar to the anxious-resistant type, but the child does not appear to behave much differently around the parents than he or she would around strangers.
A fourth type, “Disorganized”, has also been proposed for those children whose behavior cannot be described by the three main attachment types.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2008