An attachment is a positive emotional bond between a caregiver and a child.  It is a closeness, a connection.  When children have a healthy, secure attachment they want to be with that person, and they are comforted by being around her/him.  It is important that adults find infants attractive so that caregivers will get attached to them and want to take care of them, because they can’t take care of themselves.  At the beginning infants can’t move much and they need someone to feed them and protect them or they would die on their own.  The quality of the infant-caregiver attachment is a huge predictor of a child’s later social and emotional development.  For instance, children who have frequent changes in their caregiver are more likely to be aggressive (Berger, 2018; Feldman, 2014).  

Factors that affect attachment include how responsive the caregiver is, the goodness-of-fit between the infant and the caregiver, and time apart from each other due to shared custody, hospitalization, or rehab (Bowlby, 1988; Branstetter, 1969; Higley & Dozier, 2009; Newland & Crnic, 2017; Parolin & Simonelli, 2016; Samarrai, 2013).


Berger, K. S. (2018). The developing person: Through Childhood and adolescence (11th

ed.). New York, NY: Worth.

Bowlby, J. (1988). A secure base:  Parent-child attachment and healthy human development. New York, NY: Basic Books.  

Branstetter, E. (1969). The young child’s response to hospitalization:  Separation anxiety or lack of mothering care? Retrieved from

Feldman, R. S. (2014). Child development: A topical approach. Boston, MA: Pearson. 

Higley, E. & Dozier, M. (2009). Nighttime maternal responsiveness and infant attachment at one year. Attachment and Human Development, 11(4), 347-363.

Newland, R. P. & Crnic, K. A (2017). 

Developmental risk and goodness of fit in the mother-child relationship:  Links to parenting stress and children’s behavior problems. Infant and Development, 26(2). Retrieved from

Parolin, M. & Simonelli, A. (2016). Attachment theory and maternal drug addiction:  The contribution to parenting interventions. Front Psychiatry, 7, 152. Retrieved from

Samarrai, F. (2013). Overnights away from home affect children’s attachments, study shows. Retrieved from