John Bowlby was born on this day in 1907
John Bowlby was born in London and brought up mostly by his nanny as he was from an upper class family where his father was a baronet and a doctor to the King. His nanny left the household when he was only four and he was sent to boarding school at the age of seven. Perhaps all of these factors led to his interest in attachment style which was his life’s work.
He studied psychology at Cambridge and then studied medicine at University College Hospital in London becaming a psychoanalyst at the Maudsley hospital. He theorised that the early relationship between a child and the primary caregiver, usually the mother in those days, was critical in terms of the healthy development of the child, and he believed there was an intergenerational component of the theory of attachment because if the parent is insecurely attached they are unlikely to be able to develop a secure attachment style in their child.
He worked very closely with Mary Ainsworth who developed the strange situation test which measures a Childs attachment style. His and Ainsworth’s theories are still used extensively in therapy today.