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Child Dev. 2000 Jan-Feb;71(1):164-72.

A secure base from which to explore close relationships.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, SUNY, Stony Brook, NY 11794-2500, USA.


The theory of attachment as a secure-base relationship integrates insights about affect, cognition, and behavior in close relationships across age and culture. Empirical successes based on this theory include important discoveries about the nature of infant-caregiver and adult-adult close relationships, the importance of early experience, and about stability and change in individual differences. The task now is to preserve these insights and successes and build on them. To accomplish this, we need to continually examine the logic and coherence of attachment theory and redress errors of emphasis and analysis. Views on attachment development, attachment representation, and attachment in family and cross-cultural perspective need to be updated in light of empirical research and advances in developmental theory, behavioral biology, and cognitive psychology. We also need to challenge the theory by formulating and testing hypotheses which, if not confirmed, would require significant changes to the theory. If we can accomplish these tasks, prospects for important developments in attachment theory and research are greater than ever, as are the prospects for integration with other disciplines.

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