ABSTRACT

Introduction In his first still tentative formulation of attachment theory, Bowlby (1958) made no mention of fathers as potential attachment figures. His primary aim was to "debunk" the notion held by his psychoanalytic colleagues that infants love their mothers because mothers provide oral gratification. Instead, taking his cue from the emerging ethological literature on parent-offspring bonds in birds and nonhuman primates, Bowlby proposed an evolutionary explanation of human infant-mother attachment. Attachment behaviour, he theorised, is adaptive because it "maintains a younger more vulnerable individual in more or less close proximity to another discriminated and stronger individual" (Bowlby, 1979, p. 129) who can provide protection when needed. Bowlby invented the term "monotropy" to designate infants' tendency to direct attachment behaviours to one specific individual (the mother or mothering person) .