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Attachment and Exploration in infancy

The quality of infants’ attachment to their primary caregiver has become a major concern of researchers and practitioners. A recent approach to understanding infant behavior and development suggests that attachment, wariness, and exploration function as one interdependent behavioral system. Because of its integrative nature, this new approach can provide a richer understanding of infant development and serve as a conceptual framework for addressing applied and public policy concerns. In this article, major theories of attachment are contrasted, and recent research relevant to the interdependent system perspective is evaluated. Directions for future basic and applied research are suggested, and implications for practice and public policy are discussed.

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