Theory of John Bowlby

|John Bowlby was born in London in February 27th in 1907 to an upper-class family and died in September 2nd in 1990.   In John Bowlby’s early life he believed that too much attention and affection would “spoil a child” as at the age of seven he was sent to boarding school which he later described as a traumatic experience. After Bowlby attended college, where he studied delinquent children and university where he studied medicine, he then became a director at the Tavistock Clinic in 1950 and worked as mental health consultant for the World Health Organisation in London, he married and they had four children together.
John Bowlby’s early work with children gave him a strong interest in child development, he was particular interested in how separation from their primary care givers and how this impacted on them. John Bowlby’s well known theory of attachment suggests that children were born “biologically pre-programmed” to form attachments with others and he believed that that the child’s bond and attachment relationship was to be with the primary caregiver and was essential for the attachment to have bonded within the first six months. And if this essential bond was to be delayed or the attachment was broken he believed that the child will suffer “irreversible long term consequences of maternal deprivation, he believed these consequences to include “delinquency, reduced intelligence, increased aggression, depression and affectionless psychology” (
To support his theory, in 1944, he studied 44 adolescent juvenile delinquents in the child guidance clinic where he worked. These adolescents were referred to this clinic programme because of stealing, this is how the name for his study came about. His aim was to investigate the effects of maternal deprivation on the chosen juveniles to see whether the adolescents have suffered from a break in their attachment from their primary caregiver during the early stages of childhood and whether this has had...