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Describe the different types of attachment as per Mary Ainsworth.

Mary Ainsworth identified three types of attachment: secure, insecure-avoidant and insecure-resistant.

Secure attachment refers to infants who feel comfortable exploring their environment when their caregiver is present, but become upset when they leave. They seek comfort from their caregiver when they return and are easily soothed. This type of attachment is associated with sensitive and responsive caregiving.

Insecure-avoidant attachment refers to infants who show little distress when their caregiver leaves and avoid contact when they return. They may appear independent and self-reliant, but this is a defence mechanism to protect themselves from rejection. This type of attachment is associated with unresponsive caregiving.

Insecure-resistant attachment refers to infants who become extremely upset when their caregiver leaves and remain distressed when they return. They seek comfort from their caregiver but may resist being soothed, appearing angry or rejecting. This type of attachment is associated with inconsistent and unpredictable caregiving.

A fourth type of attachment, disorganised, was later identified. This occurs when infants show contradictory behaviours, such as approaching their caregiver while looking away or freezing in their presence. This type of attachment is associated with abusive or neglectful caregiving.

Overall, Ainsworth's research emphasised the importance of early experiences with caregivers in shaping attachment styles and subsequent relationships.

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