The Relationship Between a Parental Attachment Anxiety manifested through Excessive Reassurance Seeking (ERS) and ADHD in a Child Essay

Table of Contents

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Nature of the Study

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a - The Relationship Between a Parental Attachment Anxiety manifested through Excessive Reassurance Seeking (ERS) and ADHD in a Child Essay introduction. Background of the Problem

b. Problem Statement

c. Research Questions

d. Application of Results

e. Theoretical Framework

1) Attachment Theory

2) Excessive Reassurance Seeking

f.  Definitions


2) Attachment

g. Outline of Remaining Chapters
Review of Related Literature

a. Chapter Review

b. Historical Background

1) Attachment Theory


3) Excessive Reassurance Seeking

c. Review of Literature


a) Neurological

b) Genetic

c) Psychosocial

2) Attachment

a) Attachment Styles

b) Attachment Anxiety

3) ERS and Trans-generational Mechanism

d. Evaluation of Literature Reviewed

e. Chapter Summary
Research Design

a. Chapter Overview

b. Problem Statement

c. Hypothesis and Rationale


Importance of Parent-Child bondage can not be denied which is a vital contributory factor towards development of a child’s personality. This attachment or a lack of it can disrupt the natural growth of the child’s mental faculties. Today a vast number of children are infested with the menace of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder commonly called as ADHD. In the light of present research, major causative factors for this disorder are known to be neurological, genetic and environmental or psychological. With respect to psychological or environmental aspects, parents play an important role. Parental attachment style puts deep impressions on the child’s mind. This paper has been prepared to carry out an academic research to find out a relationship between the parental anxious attachment style which is often reflected through excessive reassurance seeking and the development of ADHD in a child. The paper will scrutinize the latest research backed with historical perspective and will evolve hypothesis to correlate these two important facets.

The Relationship Between a Parental Attachment Anxiety Manifested through Excessive Reassurance Seeking (ERS) and ADHD in the Child

            The Attachment Theory primarily focuses on the nature of intense, loving bonds and their life long impressions on human development (Bowlby, 1988). This theory emphasizes that the forming of a sense of secure, strong attachment behavior in individuals is much promoted by the provision of sensitive, consistent and unfailing care and emotional support by their parents. Such individuals view themselves positively as loveable figures and others too as trustworthy and emotionally accessible people. The formation of such a favorable image of self and the others in the minds of such securely attached people results in the depiction of emotional stability and comfort during the ups and downs of their intimate relationships. These people develop secure attachment orientation. On the contrary, abnormally high intrusive, unpredictable or unkind attitude of parents towards a child is more likely to push the child to adopt an insecure and confused attachment behavior ultimately, leading to the child seeing himself  and the others negatively, as unlovable, unworthy and undependable. A consistent anxiety of being rejected, unceasing escaping from intimacy or both is marked behaviors of such insecurely attached persons.

            Past researches investigating the relationship between the formation of externalizing behavior and attachment style have focused little on its variation across different groups of people, especially leaving out normative and high-risk groups of adolescents. Over the years, more and more literature has been suggesting inconsistent externalizing behavior exhibited by girls, based on findings by normative versus clinical studies. Thus, the present study aims at scrutinizing the nature and influence of the relationship between parental attachment anxiety and the presence of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in a child. This goal shall be accomplished by integrating existing databases, utilizing a variety of available empirical results and building the present study upon previous related academic researches in the field of parent- child relationship and the factors affecting it. This study will also examine the attachment literature, which in the past has dealt a lot with kids but has only recently begun to inspect such issues in adolescence.

Chapter-1 : Nature of the Study

Background of the Problem

Though some research has been carried out in the past to explore the relationship between attention problems and attachment, only a few studies have attempted to co-relate the two phenomena.  Ladnier and Massanari (2000) found out that avoidant children exhibited a behavior similar to the symptoms of ADHD, but they could not furnish evidence that ADHD occurs with a higher frequency among children having parents with an anxious attachment style.  Instead a recent study pointed out that children suffering from ADHD carried the same type of attachment insecurity as in an ambivalent attachment style (Clarke, Ungerer, Chahoud, Johnson, & Stiefel, 2002). According to Smith (1994), the occurrence of dis-attachment results from the failure of bonding of a mother with a highly comfort demanding child. Almost all of the kids involved in Smith’s study experiencing this specific dis-attachment also showed signs of ADHD. Smith claimed that an underlying deficit in the neurotransmitter, serotonin, caused ADHD along with such behaviors that prohibit secure parent-child bonding.  Supporting this suggestion partly, Ladnier and Massanari (2000) also explained ADHD as an outcome of deficit in attachment occurring due to bonding breaks. A bonding break is an incident stopping a child from developing a secure attachment with his caretakers.  This bonding-break adversely affects the child’s neurological development, this bringing forth attachment deficit behavior and hindrance in emotional growth, similar to the behavioral symptoms of ADHD.

Although these researches reflect a connection between attention problems and attachment style, yet they fail to produce consistent results. Also these researchers have focused much on attention problems occurring in ADHD victims only, leaving out those who might be suffering from a less severe degree of the problem.

Another angle of the most recent studies conducted in this field is that attachment is related to delinquency. Evidence in support of this statement includes one by Arsenio, Shea, and Sacks (2000) who found out that the chances of juvenile offenders to insecure peer attachment were quite high. Also Allen, Moore, Kuperminc, and Bell (1998) established the information that a study of a juvenile’s opinion of self worth and attachment to its mother, and the mother’s report of maternal control, predicted mother-reported misbehavior. It was suggested that insecure youngsters showed signs of delinquency as a form of rebellion against their caretaker’s ways and controls (Allen, Moore, & Kuperminc, 1997). Delinquency may serve as a dysfunctional form of attachment behavior among insecure, preoccupied youth, escalation interaction concentration with attachment figures (Allen et al., 1998). In such circumstances, the growing independence and self sufficiency that typifies parent – youth connection is assumed to be chiefly threatening to anxious teenagers (Allen et al., 2002).  The immense boost in adolescent delinquency can be explained by this blending and intermingling of the ever increasing autonomy and the pre-existing vulnerability of pre-occupied attachment (Moffitt, 1993).  The current study will make an effort to reproduce and further elucidate the link between ADHD, delinquent behavior and particular attachment styles.

Problem Statement

            What is the relationship between a parental attachment anxiety manifested through Excessive Reassurance Seeking (ERS) and development of ADHD in a child?

Research Questions

      This paper addresses two basic questions. First, it seeks to outline research and theory that would highlight the relationship between the attachment styles and the ADHD. Second, it seeks to provide a theoretical rationale identifying the extent to which the parent’s anxious attachment style affects the child’s manifestation of ADHD.

Application of Results

            This study will increase the parents’ awareness of the behaviors which contribute to the child’s ADHD thereby analyzing the treatment options for the family to deal with ADHD.

Theoretical Framework

Attachment Theory. The attachment theory proposes that youngsters form internal functioning paradigms of self and the others on the basis of the degree and type of receptiveness of their caregivers (Bartholomew & Horowitz, 1991; Bowlby, 1973). Generally, conflicting and incompatible parental behavior during childhood is believed to cultivate a negative and pessimistic working model of self in adulthood. People with such backgrounds develop a tendency of looking down upon themselves as unworthy and undeserving individuals. They underestimate their value as partners in intimacies, encounter substantial attachment anxiety and constantly fear abandonment and neglect. Continuous non-responsiveness by parents or care givers during children’s early years is thought to promote their growth into negative mind-set retainers, who are apt to remain on guard for interpersonal disappointment, and constantly doubt and mistrust probable relationship partners. Such affected ones might curtail the requirements of intimacy, thus, in turn emphasizing on self reliance (Fraley, Davis, & Shaver, 1998), as a measure of protection from failure to provide comfort to others (Cassidy & Kobak, 1988).

John Bowlby (1973, 1982) pioneer of the attachment theory, put forward that the nature of early connections between adults and their offspring later on direct the behavioral and emotional development of children. He proposed this view after being involved in research regarding the emotional interaction between grown-ups and infants. In one of his earlier studies, he came to know that kids with a troubling, disturbed childhood faced higher chances of exhibiting disturbing and delinquent behavior. His work is constantly open to criticism and has been revisited with further research also using the Strange Situation Test as a means of measuring security and insecurity in a child since childhood. Bowlby had based his theory on ethnic ideas and previous work of Sigmund Freud (1900) commonly known as Psychodynamic Theory. This theory was more appropriate in post World War 2 era when women and men were returning for their routine duties. Mothers were supposed to be at home taking care of children and men were out on their jobs. Freud believed that a child should have interaction with at least one parent and it should continue as such. If this interaction is disturbed or they are separated, the ‘proximity promoting behaviors’ start appearing in the attachment structure.

The Attachment Theory has brought forth a significant theoretical viewpoint for comprehending one’s negative frame of mind, moods and interpersonal troubles. The basic idea of this theory is that the nature of a person’s emotional experiences with his primary attachment figures forms and shapes his attachment security or insecurity. This secure or insecure attachment behavior is then associated with his capability and aptitude to bond with others and also to manage sentimental or demanding problems of life. In a nutshell, emotional availability by caregivers fosters a secure attachment in a person thus enabling him to cope effectively with adverse situations in life, like taking help from a friend. In contrast, an emotionally irresponsible attitude by one’s caregivers forces one to develop an insecure attachment and become weak in dealing with life’s stressful events. Such people withdraw from others.

            Excessive Reassurance Seeking (ERS). Excessive Reassurance Seeking refers to a tendency of repeated and excessive asking of others for reassurance of worthiness (Joiner, Metalsky, Katz, & Beach, 1999). It is a crucial construct in Coyne’s (1976) theory as it illuminates when depressed and dejected people will be accepted and when they will be rejected, and when despair and depression will be contagious and when not. The quest for reassurance also relates to other vital criteria for psychopathology related causal factors e.g. specificity and temporal precedence. Not only could a reassurance or guarantee seeking attitude comprise of a risk for activating depressive symptoms, it may also result in several other agonizing penalties like loss of a precious relationship. Considering the possible hazards of such emotional behavior on the practical lives of the individuals, ERS deserves full attention in intervention programs. Guarantee seekers need to undergo proper therapy by qualified clinicians, using depression treatments like interpersonal psychotherapy (Klerman, Weissman, Rounsaville, & Chevron, 1984).

            Coyne’s (1976) interpersonal theory of depression further suggests that depressed individuals are more likely to sink into consequent deeper depression. This is so because their interpersonal conduct augments their susceptibility to further depression. According to Coyne, the reason of this chain affect of depression is that a depressed individual, at first, asks for reassurance from others, as to whether they are truly concerned about him. Once reassured, he searches for confirmation by doubting other people’s sincerity to him, thus, seeking further reassurance in a different, clever yet annoying manner. This process does not stop here, but it grows into stronger stressful demands for more frequent and extreme guarantee. This pestering behavior severely annoys and irritates such people’s family and friends and as they, as a result of this frustration, end up rejecting the depressed fellow.  With the crumbling of the only supportive factor available to the victim, his social environment, his vulnerability to increased depression heightens. Studies on this matter dealing with college student roommates indicate that the ERS style adopters are more likely to reject themselves (Joiner, Alfano, & Metalsky, 1992). Depression, despair and the demand for reconfirmation is toxic to other humans, as the roommates of depressed people had a fair chance of becoming depressed themselves (Joiner, 1994).

            Coyne’s (1976) theory,  primarily informs about the “depressive spiral”, as explained earlier, that is generated by a mildly depressed individual who ,as a reaction to stress and through ERS, ends up constructing a negative inner mental and emotional setting, thus, the beginning of the spiral. The theory thus has implications for vulnerability to depression. If excessive reassurance seeking confers a vulnerability to depression, it should display some diagnostic specificity to depression.


            ADHD. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) represents a damaging effect (Hinshaw, 2002), that is a common, frequent and expensive child disease involving obvious problems of intense activity, often inappropriate for the child’s age, impulsiveness and distracted, negligent, incompetent, jumbled behavior. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM–IV; American Psychiatric Association, 1994) specifies three working subtypes: predominantly hyperactive, predominantly inattentive (ADHD-PI), and combined (ADHD-C). The principal characteristics linked with the disability are lack of concentration, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

            It is typically more often than not, said that an ADHD victim displays a short attention period and is easily distractible. In reality, distractibility and inattentiveness are not identical. Distractibility refers to the extent of effortlessness and ease with which some kids can be compelled to shift attention from one task to another. On the other hand, the process of attention comprises of three different components. These parts include, firstly, focusing which involves selecting a broad centre of attention and then, selecting which refers to picking the thing that needs attention at that particular moment. Secondly, there is sustenance, which compels to pay attention as long as it is needed and also resistance, which stops from diverting attention elsewhere. Thirdly, there is shifting where attention is moved from one centre or task to another. A person with a disturbed and disrupted attention process is called distractible. Likewise one or more parts of the attention process of an ADHD sufferer could pose complexity and difficulty. Some kids may find it difficult to concentrate on errands especially everyday jobs or routine work, while others may have a hard time deciding where to begin a task. A trained observer can notice the breakdowns in the attention process of each child.

            ADHD is a neurobiological developmental disability. It is anticipated to have an affect on approximately 3 to5 percent of the school age population. Scientific evidence supports the genetic transference of ADHD. It is said to result from the chemical imbalance of certain behavior regulating chemicals of the brain called neurotransmitters. The fact of lower rate of glucose use, by brains of ADHD affected individuals, as compared to those without ADHD, has been established by a landmarks study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health. The idea of temperament being affected genetically is gaining mounting weightage in research in this field, with the activity and motion level being a single feature of temper that visibly differentiates one offspring from another and also boys from girls. Boys are more hyperactive than girls.

            Attachment. Attachment is defined as an intense, emotional bond that forms between the caregiver and the care receiving infant when it is about eight or nine months old, thus, endowing the baby with emotional security. The link formation starts from feeding the child to talking to it, including both baby talk and normal communication later, on as shown by Kaye (1982). With the passage of time, the infant starts giving more attention to its caregiver and displays this by making noises, stopping to cry and becoming happy on seeing the caregiver. These affectionate bonds between the infant and the adult become pleasant parts of the infant’s internal working model. Thus, the child develops an attachment with these pleasant memories, and this attachment then serves a s a solid foundation for all future adult, emotional relationships during the child’s life.

            According to the “cupboard love theory’ by Freud, individuals tend to form attachments with other individuals satisfying their material needs. Behavioral psychologists agree to Freud’s viewpoint by introducing attachments as a result of the process of classical conditioning of the babies. In this process, the babies acquire knowledge that their food supply rests with their mother. As food consuming activity is satisfying for the babies, their minds associate a sense of satisfaction with the presence of their mothers, even in the absence of the need for food. Other psychologists have craved to learn more about the essential factors in attachment formation, the need for it, the effects of forming attachments and the consequences of rejecting such relationships.

Outline of Remaining Chapters

In the next two chapter, data from the existing academic and empirical studies on the particulars of parent-child relationship has been analyzed through hypothesis formation. The chapter on literature review begins with a general idea of the attachment theory, together with a discussion about the assessment of attachment in youth, as it relates to the classification scheme used in the present study. It follows with a clarification of ADHD and Excessive Reassurance Seeking (ERS) concepts. A variety of reasons connected with ADHD in a child have also been evaluated. The review of literature also includes diverse attachment styles, as these relate to the attachment anxiety and ERS. Chapter 3 establishes two hypotheses, each supported with a detailed rationale. These hypotheses focus on the relationship of parental anxiety to ADHD in a child and further attempt to answer the research questions.

Chapter-2 : Review of the Related Literature

Chapter Review

            In this chapter, review of the relevant literature has been carried out. After discussing the historical background of Attachment Theory, ADHD and Excessive Reassurance Seeking, the chapter will focus on prime causes of ADHD. An in depth analysis of all the three major reasons for development of ADHD in children has been carried out which includes the neurological, genetic and psychological causes. Later the attachment styles (secure, avoidant and ambivalent) have been scrutinized followed by discussing the attachment anxiety and Excessive Reassurance Seeking and trans-generational mechanism. Towards the end of the chapter, review of the literature has been carried out.

Historical Background

            Attachment Theory. The attachment theory has been furnished on the observations obtained from experimentation on animals. A number of experiments carried out with baby monkeys brought to light an important fact, that attachment was not merely driven by internal needs like hunger. A few new born monkeys were taken away from their mothers, and were kept in a cage containing two dolls. One of the dolls was made up of wire mesh and it also had a feeder attached to its chest. The other one had been made using foam, rubber and cloth, but it did not provide food. The object of this experiment was to find out as to which doll would be preferred by the monkeys; the one with food or the one with soft touch. It was observed that the little monkeys clung to the soft doll despite the other doll fulfilling their food requirement.

            The results of these experiments not only opened new horizons for researchers, but also became the basis for Bowlby’s experimentation on humans(Bowlby, 1988).  Bowlby (1988) did not accepted the dependency theory, which advocated the motive and cause of bond formation between mother and child to be food supply by the mother. As per the dependency theory, internal drives are divided into two types: primary drives and secondary drives. Food is known to be a primary drive whereas personal relationship or dependency, a secondary one. Bowlby (1988) found this theory in contrast with the facts, thus, rejected it. In the effort to provide an alternative, more convincing theory, he came up with the attachment theory. This theory is wide ranging and it has guided researchers in different areas of psychology.

Bowlby’s (1969/1982) fine work with regard to the attachment theory, for the most part, was based on ethological studies of animal behavior, actions and conduct. His point of view strongly emphasized on attachment to be regarded as an instinctual system that works to sustain and preserve closeness to the mother, thus, enabling the species to continue existence. So the concept of attachment includes all the actions a young one performs to remain close to its caregiver. The attachment system comes into action, bringing forth attachment behavior, in case an individual feels threatened by a tense or hazardous situation (Rice, 1990). Furthering the discussion on this topic, Cicchetti, Cummings, Greenberg, and Marvin (1990) explained attachment to possess three vital features. Firstly, protecting young ones from hazards and threats, this is the function of attachment. Second is the outcome of attachment behavior that results in maintaining close proximity to the attachment figure. Thirdly, it’s understood main aim, that is, to provide a secure external as well as internal environment to the young one. The quality of attachment relations depends on the caregiver’s receptiveness, sensitivity and reaction towards a child. Children brought up in the custody of well and appropriately responding parents, caregivers or attachment figures, have commonly been observed to develop a secure attachment style  (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978). As opposed to that, children who have dealt with irresponsive and/or unreliably responsive caretakers, generally, grow up to be insecurely attached individuals. Apart from giving appropriate responses at the appropriate times, to their children, parents of securely attached kids have also been observed to assist their children in having more autonomy and self reliance (Ainsworth, 1969).

A classification system for infancy attachment, tagging kids as either becoming avoidant, secure or ambivalent, has been invented by Ainsworth (Ainsworth et al. 1978).  According to his model, Ainsworth describes an avoidant child to display a lack of interest in exploration and investigation, before being taken away from its caregiver. This child also tends to disregard and ignore the mother, if united again. Kids belonging to the securely attached category indulge in keen and enthusiastic exploration process, when happy and relaxed, and if they come under stress, they yearn to contact their elders. It is thought that contact with the attachment figure enables the child to release his stress and become normal and happy again. An unsure, confused and ambivalent youngster does not get involved in much exploration and tries to remain close to the mother, even when faced with very little stress. Upon, being united with the mother, after a while’s separation, the young one displays a disturbed, anxious and disconcerted behavior eventually defying contact with the mother again.

It is assumed that the presence of attachment figures is not necessary to keep alive the attachment relations. Such relations continue to exist even in the caretaker’s absence. Ainsworth (1969) hypothesized the cause of the stability of attachment relations, to be the formation of the “intra-organism structures”. Bowlby (1969/1982) has pointed out the same phenomenon using the term “internal working models”, according to which, an inner image of one’s caregiver and one’s relationship with him, is formed in one’s mind. These inner images allow individuals to develop an understanding of their living environment. They also guide them in absorbing information significant to themselves and their relationships with other people.

            ADHD. The past 50 years have named and renamed ADHD as Minimal Brain Dysfunction, Hyperactive Child Syndrome and Attention Deficit Disorder, with or without hyperactivity; the present day term being, ADHD-Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. All these ailments possess common symptoms of impulsiveness, lack of concentration, in attentiveness, impatience and restlessness (APA, 1994). ADHD is known to affect approximately 4% of all children, though the wider range of possible sufferers is from 3% to 11% or more (Zametkin & Ernst 1999). The disorder usually begins in early childhood and is characterized by excessive activity, even when developmental level and limited behavioral control are taken into consideration. (Elia et al. 1999).

            The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, describing the diagnostic criteria for explaining ADHD, has continued to put forth modified categorization of ADHD constituents. Nowadays, at least six out of nine symptoms of each, inattention and hyperactivity, should be present in a victim, to label him as suffering from combined type ADHD (DSM IV; APA, 1994). In addition there must be some impairment from symptoms in two or more settings (e.g. home and school) and clear evidence of significant impairment in social, school or work functioning. The DSM IV also allows the classification of two subtype disorders: (i) predominantly inattentive where the child only meets criteria for inattention; and (ii) predominantly hyperactive–impulsive where only the hyperactive–impulsive criteria are met.

            According to Barkley (1998), 3–7% of school going kids in the United States, suffer from ADHD. This is probably the most common childhood disorder of the mind (Barkley, 1998). It is a genetically transferable and highly heritable brain disorder known to bring about hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inattention in its carriers (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 1994) Hinshaw (2002) remarks on these symptoms as predators of a victimized child’s social, school and home environments, giving birth to severe impairment in academic achievement, relationship with peers, family and friends, and communication and dealings with parents. The former era presented ADHD as only a childhood mental ailment but, this disorder almost always stays with the victim even when he enters adulthood.

            Excessive Reassurance Seeking (ERS). Following Coyne’s (1976) ideas on Excessive Reassurance Seeking, Joiner, Metalsky, and colleagues (Joiner, Alfano, & Metalsky, 1992; Joiner & Metalsky, 1998) have presented Excessive Reassurance Seeking as a key depression related variable. According to them, Excessive Reassurance Seeking behavior explains its own consequences in terms of the victim’s rejection by others and the infectivity of depression. Consistent ERS victims will be rejected more by their contacts and will also raise depression contagion chances (Joiner et al., 1992; Joiner & Metalsky, 1998). Coyne’s (1976) theory also presents the above mentioned inner costs of depression but it does not discuss ERS to be a reason for causing depression. However, Joiner and Metalsky (1998) pointed out that Coyne, in his theory, has used the terms “depressive spiral” or “vicious cycle”, explaining the transformation of a mildly depressed individual into a severely depressed patient. This happens when the individual, in an effort to release stress, adopts ERS attitude which traps him in his negative, inner mind-set. This negative direction of thought pushes him deeper into a more serious and intense state of despair. The Coyne’s theory thus offers a potential explanation of vulnerability to depression which ultimately contributes to excessive reassurance seeking.

Review of the Literature

            Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). Toxic influence, natal factors, neurobiological aspects and hereditary issues have been observed to be chiefly responsible for the development of ADHD in an individual. About 80 to 90% of ADHD detected in both twins, as a part of study on identical twins, was observed to be related to genetic influences. Individuals of families carrying the disorder suffer five to seven times more, from ADHD, as compared to normal families (Grantham, 1999). Under-activity in areas of the brain that control inhibitory response suggests a neurological etiology. Scientific data suggested that ADHD is due to neuro-anatomical or neurochemical abnormalities that result in the inconsistent meta-regulation of brain chemicals. It is now believed by the scientist that chemical disruptions to the prefrontal cortex of the brain is one major cause of the ADHD in a child. Absence of appropriate chemicals affect the frontal lobes in such a way that these lobes stop generating appropriate responses.

This results in inappropriate cognitive or psychological responses, behavioral impulses, and reduced attention-monitoring processes. Underlying etiological explanations of ADHD can be simply divided into biological and environmental. In simple terms, biological explanations include genetics, brain structure and their influence on neuro-psychology, while predominant environmental explanations include parenting and diet. To explore it further, first of all, we will discuss the neurological explanation of the ADHD.

                        Neurological. Electroencephalograph (EEG) regulation disturbances or disorders in the prefrontal and sensor motor cortex had been observed in more than 90% of child ADHD victims, along with slowed, reduced, repressed or inhibited activity in all cortical areas. However, there is a possibility that irregular or inconsistent EEG readings may appear in children as a sign of deferred maturation of the neural pathways (Sterman, 2000). So, in these cases, it may be a normal phenomenon particularly for children younger than seven or eight years old. According to Amen and Carmichael (1997), a considerable decline in the flow of blood to the prefrontal cortex during attention requiring jobs has been viewed in 65% of the ADHD affected people, while another 22% experienced the same even when taking rest.

            Using positron emission tomography (PET), Zemetkin et al. (1990) found that brains of adults diagnosed with ADHD worked slower than in the control groups. A direct contributing factor to increasing ADHD behavior, in turn affecting the victim’s control on attention, self regulation, cognitive performance, acquisition of social skills and task related activities, was found out to be the slow metabolism of glucose in ADHD brains. Lou et al. (1984) revealed differences in the metabolic activity of particular parts of the mind, including the frontal lobes. These findings could prove to be the foundation to describe the reasons, why ADHD clients find it more difficult to comprehend, grasp information and follow instructions. One could develop an understanding, based on the above information that ADHD brains must toil extensively in order to reap the advantages that a normal brain enjoys because of having a sufficient metabolism rate during activity.

            Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) studies have produced evidence of deficient, imperfect and immature functions of the cerebellum of an ADHD brain, as reported by Denckla (1991). Hynd et al. (1991) also used MRI on children with ADHD and concluded a little smaller or mildly deformed corpus coliseum in their brains, implying ADHD’s relationship to functional brain abnormalities. A reduction of approximately 5% in the total volume of the boys’ brains, than in the control group, with a slightly but significantly small right hemisphere, was observed by other researchers (Erk, 2000; Grantham, 1999).

            Despite being different form normal brains, ADHD brains also reflect a similarity to the normal brains in terms of developmental and neurological features. Brain size and function differ consistently among normal people too. But, since a limited, small portion of the normal populace has been researched upon, with reference to the brain, thus, the concept of ADHD children possessing a unique, distinctive and particularly identifiable brain blueprint cannot be verified.

            Genetic. It is now, almost believed, that the possibility or the danger of possessing ADHD is determined by the differences in the genetic patterns of the children (Stevenson et al. 2005). Older studies in this area have already established the fact, that ADHD is a highly heritable ailment. It is only now, that the direction of research has been shifted towards determining the particular gene types that play a role in carrying ADHD. The outcomes of reports, about ADHD being related to a single dopamine transporter gene and about the variations within a particular D4 receptor gene contributing to ADHD, heightened the researchers’ interest to find out more about the specific genetic mechanism underlying ADHD (LaHoste et al. 1996).

            Imaging studies using Positron Emission Tomography (PET), and Magnetic Resonance

Imaging (MRI) techniques have implicated the frontostriatal circuitry in AD/HD, an area rich in

dopaminergic activity. Studies on serotonin transporter genes have also been carried out. Modern day genetic explorations are targeted at determining the roles, that separate genes might platy in triggering specific aspects of ADHD. As a result of their meta-analysis, Waldman and Faraone (2002) have produced that fact of a much closer association of the dopamine transporter gene DAT1 to the subtype of combined ADHD than with other subtypes. Exploring gene-environment interactions and gene-gene interactions are the destinations of future studies on heredity and genes. The former topic aims to look in to the degree to which environmental factors could moderate genetic risks for ADHD while, the latter emphasizes on determining the degree to which possessing a combination of varying genetic influences might heighten the risk for ADHD.

            Psychosocial.  Apparently ADHD seems to be linked with a number of psychiatry problems including Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Conduct Disorder (CD), depression and anxiety. About 50–60% of even the pre-school children show signs of simultaneous possessing of ADHD and ODD (Kadesjo et al., 2001). According to the statistics provided by Busch and colleagues (2002), 57% of the ADHD kids in primary care settings displayed mood disturbances, 31% demonstrated multiple anxiety disorders and 11.5% suffered from substance use disorders. It was evident that the ADHD children were significantly more likely to display such behaviors as compared to the non ADHD ones. Psychological functioning, especially social adjustment represents highly difficult activity means for kids with ADHD. Not much attention is paid to the factor of social adjustment difficulty in these cases, believing, that it is an associated feature of ADHD (APA, 1994). Nevertheless, the more troublesome the attitude of a child with ADHD, the higher the chances for him of getting negative reactive responses from parents teachers, family and friends. This in turn leads to peer rejection. As psychosocial and pharmacological treatment do not succeed in removing these psychosocial problems from the lives of ADHD children, these disorders have fair chances of continuing into adolescence and even adulthood periods.(Slomkowski et al., 1995).

            Attachment Styles. Agreeing with Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth (Ainsworth et al., 1978) commented that attachment bonds were formed during the first two years of a child’s life. At the age of seven months, a child begins to resist strangers and unknown environments while he recognizes and expresses joy on seeing familiar faces and things. Mary also proposed that, the type of attachment behavior of a child, formed in his early years becomes the foundation for all potential associations in the future. Ainsworth (1969) used a procedure called the ‘strange situation paradigm’ to check the pattern of attachment style in children. A one year old child, the child’s parent and a stranger were involved, in a series of eight sequences of short partings and reunions. In an attempt to measure secure and insecure attachment, Ainsworth observed the child’s reaction each time it was reunited. As a result of this exercise, three distinctive patters of adjustment emerged. Type A: anxious/ avoidant, type B: secure and type C: anxious/ ambivalent. Most of the children displayed secure attachment, one fifth of the sample showed type A and one tenth showed type C.

            Secure Attachment. Securely attached children are able to avoid stress in case of separation from caregivers. In case they are scared, these children turn to their parents or caregiver for support and comfort. These kids not only express joy on being united with their parents but also accept help, contact and interaction from their caregivers, positively and easily. These kids are strong enough to resist being upset by their parent’s absence and prefer parents to strangers. Also, the parents of securely attached children not only play more with their kids, but also respond quickly to their child’s call for a specific need. They generally respond more frequently, effectively and efficiently, to their children, as compared to the parents of insecurely attached children. Studies agree on the fact that, children with a secure attachment are not only less disruptive, less aggressive and more mature than kids with a type A or type C attachment style but, they are more sympathetic, concerned and compassionate in their later years of childhood.

            Securely attached adults generally have trusting, long term relationships, high self esteem, enjoy intimacy and seek out social interaction and support. The results of a research have shown that, securely attached women had optimistic and affirmative feelings about their private intimacies as compared to insecurely attached ladies (McCarthy G., 1999). According to Blumberg (Blumberg, 2005), people with a secure attachment style are confident with their partners, have no fears of being rejected by them and take pleasure in being close to their loved ones. Such people also benefit from good sex, support their partners in times of need and are not afraid of death.

            Avoidant Attachment. The intensity of avoidance, in children with this particular attachment style, increases and becomes more obvious in case of reunion with a parent, after an absence. These young ones might not reject attention from a parent but they do not take initiative in interacting with the parents or asking them for help. Such children have no clear preferences regarding parents versus strangers. They grow up to be disturbed adults who find it difficult to intimate with others.  They are not much compassionate and worry less if a relationship ends. They also avoid intimacies by making various excuses and may fantasize about others during sex. Such adults show a higher tendency to embrace casual sex (Feeney, Noller & Patty, 1993). They cease to support their partners in times of stress and they don’t share their feelings and thoughts with them.

             Blumberg (Blumberg, 2005) comments on the characteristics of adults with an avoidant attachment style, as giving less input into a relationship, fantasizing about others during sex, feel easy to switch from one relationship to another, prefer solitude and are introverts, avoid partners and fear death.

            Ambivalent Attachment. Children falling into this category show extreme suspicion of strangers and feel too much stress if parted from their parent, and do not feel reassured by the parent’s return. They might refuse to accept comfort provision by the parent or may openly exhibit direct aggression towards the parent. Ambivalent attachment is not very common in United States. There are only 7 to 15 % infants are found to be displaying this type of attachment (Cassidy & Berlin, 1994). In a review of ambivalent attachment literature, Cassidy and Berlin (1994) also found that observational research consistently links ambivalent-insecure attachment to low maternal availability. These children are often described by their teachers as over dependent, clingy and over confident.

            With regard to adults, people having ambivalent attachment style like to stay alone. They often feel reluctant in getting close to other people primarily with the fear of not receiving reciprocating response. Such apprehensions constantly haunt these people and lead to frequent breakups. Blumberg (2005) describes that these people grieve heavily after break-ups, have varying self esteem, feel unsupported, jealous and fear death. Cassidy and Berlin (1994) described another pathological pattern where ambivalently attached adults cling to young children as a source of security. Few characteristics of ambivalent attachment are listed below:

As Children
As Adults
Wary of strangers.
Feel reluctant about

becoming close to others
Become greatly distressed

when parent leaves
Worry that their partner

does not love them
Do not seem comforted by

 parents return
Become very distraught

when relationships end

            Attachment Anxiety. Children with a negative internal model of themselves grow up to be adults with the problem of high attachment anxiety. These adults cannot sooth and reassure themselves, on their own, and this inability forces them to ask others for validation. Quite on the contrary, adults with a high attachment avoidant style, refrain from depending on others for consolation. Having negative views of others and a fear of intimacy and dependence leaves them no choice but tm turn wholly to themselves for reassurance and support. Securely attached persons do not only have positive working models of self and others but, are able to utilize both internal and external sources of reassurance (Mallinckrodt, 2001).

            Davila (2001) suggested a positive association between the two variables: attachment anxiety and ERS, that is, if one increases so does the other and if one variable decreases so does the other. Following the same lines, Lopez (2002) stated that positive association existed between the need for social acceptance and attachment anxiety. That study also reported that the need for social approval explained unique variance in the tendency to use splitting of others as a psychological defense, above and beyond the variance accounted for by the quality of the attachment. It appears that attachment anxiety is positively and moderately associated with a need for reassurance from others. Conversely, two studies reported only nominal associations between attachment avoidance and excessive reassurance seeking (Davila) or need for social approval (Lopez). Two other studies found that individuals with attachment avoidance were less likely to seek positive feedback from others (e.g., Brennan & Bosson, 1998; Brennan & Morris, 1997). The studies carried out so far do provide some empirical evidence that attachment anxiety is moderately related to the need for reassurance from others.

            ERS and Trans-generational Mechanism. Attachment relationships play a key role in the transgenerational transmission of the sense of deprivation and depression which are chiefly related to excessive reassurance seeking. Assessment of parental attachment before the child’s birth also supports this claim. The chances for secure adults to have securely attached off springs rise 3 to 4 times relative to others (van IJzendoorn, 1995). Parental attachment patterns offer a guideline to predict children’s response to various factors like life events, social support and psychopathology. The question however arises that how is such transgenerational transmission mediated? Genetics may appear to provide an obvious explanation. As Fearon (1998) puts it: “the early findings of an ongoing twin study in our laboratory have yielded no evidence of differential levels of concordance of attachment classification between identical and non-identical twins.”. Attachment researches support the hypothesis that secure adults act more sensitively and sympathetically towards their children’s requirements. This attitude of the parents gives confidence to the young one that his calls would be heard and his needs fulfilled.

            The theory of a transgenerational reflective function has three components. Firstly, it is assumed that the creation of internal state images and understanding relies upon  the responsive image of the parent, which acts as a solid foundation for the child to base its internal working model upon. Secondly,  the gradual move from a teleological to an intentional stance is intrinsically linked to the child’s experience of safety in exploring the caregiver’s mind to ferret out the feelings and thoughts that might account for her behavior. Needless to say, this is easiest and safest to do in the context of a secure attachment relationship. Thirdly, at a later stage, the caretaker makes another vital contribution. Generally, while playing with the child, the parent becomes involved with the child’s internal world while remaining active in the external world. The child absorbs this external information base on reality. This is similar to psychoanalytic debates of the cognitive impact of the oedipal harmony, where the shared reality of two people is suddenly experienced from the point of view of the third. The parents’ engagement in the child’s internal world moves the child beyond the conception of their mind as an imitation of the external world. All these three components equip the child to confront a sometimes unduly harsh social reality.

Evaluation of Literature Reviewed

            John Bowlby’s attachment theory claims that all human beings require forming close affection bonds with each other. Normal mental and emotional development of humans as well as other mammals depends on the response received during childhood relationships. The response of the adult in terms of touching, holding, soothing, to the attachment needs of the baby tends to strengthen the affection bond of that infant towards that particular adult. The infant would develop and exhibit either a secure or in secure attachment behavior depending upon the nature of information he had received, about the style of responsiveness and the degree of attention from the adult. The child forms his attitude according to his experience. The most important factor which triggers emotional attachment and sentimental feelings is a sense of security, which is also the goal of the attachment system. In this sense it lies at the heart of many forms of mental disorder and the entire psychotherapeutic enterprise.

            The second great pioneer of attachment theory, Mary Ainsworth developed the well-known laboratory based process with which she observed an infant’s internal working models in action. Infants, briefly separated from their caregiver in an unfamiliar situation, exhibited one of the four behavior patterns. Secure infants showed a tendency to explore eagerly in the company of the primary caregiver, became anxious in the presence of a stranger thus avoiding her, became worried by their caregivers’ short nonattendance, quickly hunted for contact with the caregiver afterwards, and were reassured by this contact. The infants then returned to exploration. Other  infants, who were apparently not much anxious by partition, may not have sought closeness with the caregiver after separation, and may not have preferred the caregiver over the stranger; these infants were designated as ‘Anxious/Avoidant’. A third category, ‘Anxious/Resistant’ infants demonstrated constrained exploration and play, possessed a tendency to be highly upset by the disconnection with the caregiver, and had immense difficulty in settling afterwards, showing obvious struggling, stiffness, continued crying, or fussing. The caregiver’s attendance or efforts to provide comfort failed to reassure the troubled children, and the infants’ anxiety and anger seemed to prevent them from deriving comfort from nearness and proximity.

            A lot of research has been carried out in examining parent-child relations. It is now well understood that attachment is not just an outcome of the need to satisfy various drives, like Sigmund Freud thought. For example, children are not just attached to their parents because they provide food; their attachment also involves behavior that is independent of their direct needs. Attachment theory assumes that humans are social beings; they do not just use other people to satisfy their drives. In this way, attachment theory is similar to object relations theory. It can safely be said that problematic parent-child relationships result in anxiety disorders, violent behavior, failure to complete school, depression, lack of concentration, hyperactivity and impulsiveness (all symptoms of ADHD). On the other hand, secure parent-child attachment seems to provide a protective factor that contributes to later emotional adjustment, social functioning, self-esteem building, and academic competency. In the same way, higher levels of parental participations in their children activities develop more stable and diligent personalities.

Chapter Summary

            Bowlby’s theory of attachment is the most researched theory in present times. It has acceded way to numerous sub-theories. Many spin off assumptions can still be derived from the original model. One of the hypotheses could be that human relations in general and parent-child relations in particular are affected by the environment, culture and socio-eco-ethnic compulsions. In the case of animals, it is sometimes hard to identify the actual mother of a monkey infant. A monkey baby is fed, cared, and nourished by all females of the clan simply because they have nothing much to do. Whereas facing multifarious challenges, human relations are affected greatly by the external factors. Affection and attachment will imply differently to a person living a care-free life when compared with a person fighting hard to earn livelihood for his/her family.

            The theory of attachment introduced new meanings to human relationship. The proposition that, to thrive emotionally, children need a close and continuous care-giving relationship required theoretical explanation. Bowlby was never satisfied with the theory of dependence which focused on human relations progressing through fulfillment of basic needs. His methodical research manifested the theory of attachment which highlighted the importance of care-giving and care-taking responses more than primary needs of hunger and sex.  Principle on which the attachment theory is based upon is the role of a child’s parents in determining how well the child develops. There is enough evidence available today which proves that the pattern of attachment that a person develops during the years of infancy, childhood, and adolescence is greatly influenced by the way his parents treat him. Bowlby also states that prospective studies reflect each pattern or also called style of attachment, once developed, tends to persist. One reason for this is that the way a parent treats a child, whether for better or for worse, tends to continue unchanged. Another fact about this pattern is that it is self-perpetuating. Thus a secure child is a happier and less demanding than an anxious one who goes on to develop ADHD. Research evidence also suggests amore specific association between preoccupied, and to some extent, fearful attachment styles and depression exhibited through excessive reassurance seeking thereby leading to providing ideal environment for ADHD.

Chapter-3 : Research Design and Method

Chapter Review

            This chapter will dwell on two hypothesis. The hypothesis-1 will make an endeavor to establish a relationship between parental attachment anxiety and the development of ADHD in a child. The rationale for this hypothesis discusses at length the causative factors for ADHD and then focusing on the psychological contributors to this disorder. The second hypothesis will deal with the infestation of ADHD relatively more in males as compared to females. It will also be supported with adequate rationale.

Problem Statement

            What is the relationship between a parental attachment anxiety manifested through Excessive Reassurance Seeking (ERS) and ADHD in the child?


            Statement. Parental attachment anxiety manifested through excessive reassurance seeking is deeply associated with severity of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) in a child.

            Rationale. We have already discussed that ADHD can be neurological, genetic or psychological. When it is related to brain or genes, we can not help it. But we can certainly provide a conducive environment, which can contribute positively towards child development. With regard to the child’s environment, parents are the closest entity a child encounters on daily basis. The attitude, behavior and attachment style of the parents affect the development of the personality of a child. The most common of the problems, a child can develop due to inconsistent parenting is the manifestation of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).

            ADHD is proved to be a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that is more common and rigorous than normally observed in persons at a comparable level of development. These symptoms occur in varying amounts of intensity and are noticeable in complex behaviors such as aggression, poor rule-regulated behavior, delay of gratification and pleasure, learning difficulties, meager impulse control, and low motivational and inspirational levels. Approximately 70% to 80% of children with ADHD reveal persistent problems involving impulsivity, over activity, restlessness and agitation and behavioral, attention, and cognitive difficulties through puberty. Parents constantly report child behavior problems, particularly aggression and misconduct, some of the most demanding problems associated with ADHD.

            When we analyze the children affected with ADHD, we find that there are significant interpersonal clash and argument in the family, where the child is brought up. As we know that ADHD is basically a behavioral disorder and is related with difficulty in controlling the responses generated by the brain, the children having ADHD are often reported to be severe, and excessive. The psychological dimension of ADHD is clearly prompted by parental anxious attachment. This anxious attachment style is often manifested through excessive reassurance seeking where a person does not believe in himself nor in others and remains constantly busy in getting approvals. This results in articulation of depression, and loneliness. When a child is confronted with such environmental factor where he is continuously facing the parental anxious attachment style, he is bound to reciprocate which is noticeable through his behavioral changes representing ADHD. It has also been found through research that interventions to increase the general performance of the family and to lessen the amount of family conflict would improve outcomes for youth with ADHD and also individual family members.

            When we talk of attachments, we can not ignore Bowlby. John Bowlby’s theory of attachment is the most researched theory in present times. The theory of attachment introduced new meanings to human relationship. The proposition that, to thrive emotionally, children need a close and continuous care-giving relationship required theoretical explanation. Bowlby was never satisfied with the theory of dependence which focused on human relations progressing through fulfillment of basic needs. His methodical research manifested the theory of attachment which highlighted the importance of care-giving and care-taking responses more than primary needs of hunger and sex. Principle on which the attachment theory is based upon is the role of a child’s parents in determining how well the child develops. There is enough evidence available today which proves that the pattern of attachment that a person develops during the years of infancy, childhood, and adolescence is greatly influenced by the way his parents treat him.

            The topics with longitudinal attachment-based studies of families with depression, of families with maltreatment, and of clinical interventions in families with low social support and with behavior-problem children were the hard back to Bowlby’s seminal ideas since 1930s. Value and authoritativeness of attachment theory is evident from the Bowlby’s focus on parent-child relationship which captivated the attention of developmental psychologists, and his assertion that attachment processes operate across the life span paved the way for social and personality psychologists to study attachment in adult relationships. He highlights that the emotional deprivation of children is a social ill which eventually results in the distortion and corrosion of the social life fabric of the child’s personality.

            Strong linkage between the parental anxious attachment manifested through excessive reassurance seeking and the ADHD in a child can not be over emphasized. There I sufficient evidence present today which prove that adult attachment avoidance involves an excessive need for self-reliance and fear of interpersonal closeness or dependence. Parents with ERS are assumed to possess insecure adult attachment orientation. Such people display a negative sense of personal competence, and are likely to develop mal-adaptive perfectionism. This results in demonstration of significant depressive mood. Attachment anxiety or attachment avoidance could be viewed as a source of chronic interpersonal stress. Perfectionism may lead to depressive mood because it generates core interpersonal needs that are difficult to satisfy resulting into constant reassurance seeking. When this psychological predicament is applied to a child, he is bound to react negatively with development of the signs of depression, anxiety and frustration leading to ADHD.

            Theoretically, attachment is an enduring bond between a parent and child that is imperative for a healthy psychosocial development. A healthy parent-child attachment is positively associated with measures of social competence, identity, interpersonal functioning, self-esteem, and emotional adjustment. On the other hand, this relationship not prospering harmoniously can outlay drastically bad results for a child. A child’s mind is like a clean slate. Each and every behavioral pattern of parental attachment imprints enduring and everlasting impressions on the child’s personality. Continuous non-responsiveness by parents or care givers during children’s early years promotes their growth into negative mind-set retainers, who are apt to remain on guard for interpersonal disappointment, and constantly doubt and mistrust probable relationship partners. Such constant reassurance seeking develops lack of concentration, hyperactivity and impulsiveness in a child which are the three principal characteristics linked with ADHD in the children.


            Statement. Male children exhibit higher levels of attention problems, aggressive behavior, and delinquent behavior than females. Effect of parental attachment anxiety is therefore more in boys as comparatively to the girls.

Rationale. ADHD is a well-known, chronic behavioral problem that can be best described by strong symptoms of impulsivity, hyperactivity, and/or inattention and is frequently diagnosed during childhood. After having established a strong relationship between parental attachment anxiety manifested through excessive reassurance seeking and the ADHD in children, we will now focus on the effect of this relationship on boys and girls separately. In general, it is a fact that boys have more behavior problems than girls. ADHD is therefore found to be more common in boys than in girls. According to Bowlby, males and females are equally likely to face attachment problems. He however also pointed out that females are more likely to exhibit anxious / ambivalent attachment, whereas males are more likely to exhibit avoidant attachment style. Psychiatric diagnoses of behavior disorders including ADHD also fluctuate between males and females. Statistics reveal that boys outnumber girls with regard to presence of ADHD. Girls are also found to be few in numbers than boys when talking of delinquent and aggressive behavior.

   There have been lot of studies conducted to reflect a direct comparison of the relationship between attachment style and ADHD in males and females. Some evidence has pointed to a stronger relationship between problem behavior and insecure attachment in boys than in girls. Researchers report that maternal and paternal anxious attachment styles increased the risk for ADHD in boys more than in girls. According to one study, male-female ratios range from 9:1 to 6:1 in clinical samples but are about 3:1 in community-based population studies. By nature, girls tend to be inattentive rather than hyperactive/impulsive and the major symptom of ADHD that is reflected through excess kinetic activity and disruptiveness is typical of boys with ADHD.  It is therefore generally noticed that girls with ADHD are less likely than boys with ADHD to exhibit conduct disorder, aggression, or delinquency, so they are less likely to be referred for disruptive behavior.

  On the contrast, it has also been found through latest research that symptoms of ADHD in boys start receding as they start growing up. Whereas, older girls with this disorder are more likely than younger girls to suffer from depression and anxiety. It has also been noted that boys were easier to treat as compared to the girls who show a lot of resistance in their treatment. Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder is yet to be explored a lot. There are contradictory research with regard to its various aspects which needs a lot of elaboration. Whatever the causes or the reasons, it is however established fact that symptoms of ADHD are found to be more discernible in boys as compared to girls even up to the tune of 9:1.


            Attachment theory, developed by John Bowlby presents a set of organizing principles for understanding various facets of human psychological aspects. The theory offers a wide spectrum, which encompasses comprehensive theoretical paradigm for understanding diversities amongst relationships. Holmes expounding Bowlby’s life and work states that there is a strong moral and social vision behind the theory of attachment. He highlights that the emotional deprivation of children is a social ill which eventually results in the distortion and corrosion of the social life fabric.

            Bowlby describing principles involved in the application of the attachment theory states that basic component of this theory is the intimate emotional bonds between particular individuals. He further highlights that intimate emotional bonds are not dependent on food and sex or on external factors like the urgent desire for comfort and support. Major principle of effective personality functioning and mental health is the capacity to make intimate emotional bonds with other people in the care-seeking or care-giving role. Principle on which the attachment theory is based upon is the role of a child’s parents in determining how well the child develops. There is enough evidence available today which proves that the pattern of attachment that a person develops during the years of infancy, childhood, and adolescence is greatly influenced by the way his parents treat him.

            A broad analysis of the available research in this field reveal that conflicting and incompatible parental behavior during childhood is believed to cultivate a negative and pessimistic working model of self in adulthood. People with such backgrounds develop a tendency of looking down upon themselves as unworthy and undeserving individuals. They underestimate their value as partners in intimacies, encounter substantial attachment anxiety and constantly fear abandonment and neglect. Continuous non-responsiveness by parents or care givers during children’s early years is thought to promote their growth into negative mind-set retainers, who are apt to remain on guard for interpersonal disappointment, and constantly doubt and mistrust probable relationship partners.

            Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) represents a damaging effect that is a common, frequent and expensive child disease involving obvious problems of intense activity, often inappropriate for the child’s age, impulsiveness and distracted, negligent, incompetent, jumbled behavior. Main reason for development of ADHD in children, besides neurological and genetics, is the environment. When considering the factor of environment, parents are the closest facet which a child encounters on daily basis. The parents play an important role in this aspect. The anxious parental attachment style reflected through excessive reassurance seeking contribute profoundly towards the development of ADHD in children. This paper has discussed at length the attachment bondage between parents and children and finally concludes that children are the nature’s purest gift and therefore deserve to be provided with such an environment which is conducive for development of their stable personalities.


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