Anxiety and Depression During Childhood and Adolescence

Cite this

Attachment can be defined as the bond shared between two or more persons. People may have emotional closeness with one another out of natural circumstances or actions created by one’s behavior (Fearon & Roisman, 2017). Therefore, the attachment theory is concerned with how people relate to each other in society, especially parents and infants. The theory considers the psychological and evolutionary development of the human being to derive a conclusion. The psychiatrist John Bowlby is credited for developing the theory of attachment. Bowlby (1999) argued that a child has to become close or develop a relationship with the person who cares for them (Farrel et al, 2017). Further, he believed that when young people get close to at least one caregiver, they have higher emotional development.

According to the theory, children need someone to help them relieve stress. Additionally, children are argued to have a close tie with someone who constantly shows up to take care of them every time. Attachment is further argued to develop rapidly when the child is of tender age. No wonder scholars assert that it is difficult for a child to forget their parents when they grow up or even when they are in bad conditions (Fearon & Roisman, 2017). The reasons are that the parent is always there to give the care they need when growing up. The scientist also argues that the children are attached to the adults who show them care for security purposes. The children feel safe when in the hands of the individuals, and therefore, their relationship becomes stronger based on the presence of the caregiver.

The attachment theory suggests that children become automatically discriminative in their approach to people during this period of development (Fearon & Roisman, 2017). The period is marked by the child’s refusal to be carried by the individual they are unfamiliar with or who has not been taking care of them. The automatic discrimination is because the child does not feel safe in the hands of those they consider strangers. The attachment theory is based on various tenets to support it. First, psychiatrists argue that bonding is an intrinsic human want. Secondly, it is argued, attachment is based on the regulation of emotions.

To start with the intrinsic human wants, the theory asserts that human behaviors are adaptive. The adaptive nature thus has made human beings, especially children, copy behaviors of those who are above them. That is why it is argued that when a child grows up in a crime-prone area, they become criminals because that is the behavior they have witnessed (Fearon & Roisman, 2017). The tenet is also attributed to the mother and an infant—the mother, when eating, also feeds the infant baby in the womb. Therefore, the mother’s taking of food regularly makes it appear like a routine to the infant that they should eat at some specific time.

The second tenet of the theory is that attachment is based on the regulation of emotion by the body. According to the experts, the people who give children a happy appearance always have an emotional attachment to them (Nielsen & Holck, 2020). However, those who quarrel with them are not treated the same way as those who treat them well. An effect of this biologically programmed emotional attachment theory is that the child is programmed to be able to tack the emotional quotient on their own (Fearon & Roisman, 2017). Thirdly, the scholars argue that attachment enhances individual mind expansion and development. In this regard, scholars argue that during the development period, a child’s brain tends to grasp easily.

Further, the expansion of the mind takes place, and therefore, the child becomes analytical in their understanding. The period is marked by curiosity from the child as they want to understand their surroundings. The attachment theory suggests that during this development time, the child becomes easily emotional because when they are not answered correctly, they feel like they are not given the appropriate love. However, if one is close to them and submits to the child’s endless queries, they become attached to the person.

Strange Situation Procedure

Mary Ainsworth came up with the abnormal situation procedure to analyze attachment depicted in children. The procedure was observed in children between nine years and 30 months. The observation was that the children depicted either a secure, insecure, or disorganized attachment in the development process (Nyland et al., 2022). The observation during the period is taken when children are busy in their play. The caregivers and the strangers act like they are not interested in what the child is doing while observing their behaviors. During the observation period, a child is noticed to be free when the parents are present. They can play freely and even be happy with strangers in the presence of their parents and caregivers. However, when the parents leave, the mood changes and the child becomes unhappy (Nyland et al., 2022). The reason is that when the parent or the caregiver is present, the secure base is assured, and the child knows that there cannot be any harm in the presence of those they believe in.

Secondly, the other pattern of attachment is the anxious-avoidant. When a child is undergoing the anxious avoidance mechanism, they normally tend to assume the caregiver. The behavior was mainly observed when the caregiver or the parent always ignored the child’s request. Therefore, the child knows that it is not even important to ask for something because it will not be granted. The child under the category of ambivalent attachment is observed to be too provoked when the caregiver or the parent leaves and is difficult to calm down when the guardian returns (Nyland et al., 2022). The children in this category are passive and mostly shows sign of unhappiness most of the time. Lastly, the fourth interactional behavior observed is the disorganized or disoriented child. Scientists observed a category of children who always wanted to hold the hand of their parents or caregivers or wanted to be carried. If their demands were not met, the children resorted to crying. The factors listed above also describe the four patterns of infant parental attachment. These aspects mainly arise during the child’s growth period when they are so closely attached to their parents.

Parental Synchronicity and Parental-Infant Relaxation

Synchronicity is the coordination of actions by the body which involves analyzing a person’s thoughts, emotions, and behavior. It also involves a character that is also commonly practiced by many individuals at once. In creating a bond between the parents and the infant, the aspect of synchrony emerges in the third month of the infant’s development (Nielson & Holck, 2020). Scientists argue that the relationship is responsible for how the child will relate with other people. The relation has some biological aspects bestowed to it. First, when a child is growing, they tend to take the behavior of those around them, in this case, the parents and the caregivers. Therefore, when the caregiver or the parent acts in a manner that does not uphold some level of dignity such as stealing or using some bad language, the child will pick up the behavior. The synchronic aspect is demonstrated when the child observes the parents’ behavioral changes and does the same.

Possible Long Term Consequences of Attachment Quality in Adolescence

The attachment pattern depicted in children has also been observed in adolescents. Young teenagers undergo the process of security, insecurity, and the disorganized aspect in equal measures (Hinojosa et al., 2020). A scientific observation revealed that the youths also feel insecure when they meet strangers and people they are not used to. The aspect creates a condition that the young adults would speak their minds and even play freely when in the presence of the people they are used to. The same observation was made in the children, concluding that both young adults and infants have a common factor for development.

Further, adolescents in love are argued to be happy when around their loved ones. The reason is that they feel they can be protected and that they are so used to each other. In addition, the trust between the two adolescents makes it easy to be secure among their peers. However, avoidant adolescents are a bit different (Hinojosa et al., 2020). The character depicted by them is that of avoiding the masses and enjoying their relationship in silence. They are argued to be insecure and become introverted in sharing their experience with others. They also feel insecure when not in the presence of their loved ones.

Effects of Chronic Poverty on Attachment

Chronic poverty depicts a situation where people, especially children lack a figure or a person to engage and adapt to. This poverty causes individuals to behave in a manner that depicts hatred toward everyone. Mostly, it occurs in those who have no infant parental relationship (Cohen et al., 2017). Therefore, the children lack proper guidance on what they could imitate or do. However, the situation can be reverted when society stands to show up for the children who can be viewed to lack those morals. Poverty brings about lack of morals because in trying to feed themselves, someone might attempt to steal from someone else. The behavioral shapes and patterns can erase the belief and circumstances of such treatments. Therefore, society can help solve the chronic poverty of attachment.


Cohen, J. R., Andrews, A. R., Davis, M. M., & Rudolph, K. D. (2017). Anxiety and depression during childhood and adolescence: Testing theoretical models of continuity and discontinuity. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 46(6), 1295–1308.

Farrel A. K., Simpson, J. A., Carlson, E. A., Englund, M. M., & Sung, S. (2017). The impact of stress at different life stages on physical health and the buffering effects of maternal sensitivity. Health Psychology, 36(1), 35–44.

Fearon, R. P., & Roisman, G. I. (2017). Attachment theory: Progress and future directions. Current Opinion in Psychology, 15, 131-136.

Hinojosa, A. S., Shaine, M. J. D., & McCauley, K. D. (2020). A strange situation indeed: Fostering leader-follower attachment security during the unprecedented crisis. Management Decision, 58(10), 2099-2115. Web.

Nielsen, J. B., & Holck, U. (2020). Synchronicity in improvisational music therapy–Developing an intersubjective field with a child with an autism spectrum disorder. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, 29(2), 112-131.

Nyland, J., Escolas, H., Archuleta, D., Aden, J., & Escolas, S. (2022). Attachment style and burn pain. SSRN Electronic Journal.

Cite this paper

Select style


PsychologyWriting. (2023, March 13). Anxiety and Depression During Childhood and Adolescence. Retrieved from


PsychologyWriting. (2023, March 13). Anxiety and Depression During Childhood and Adolescence.

Work Cited

"Anxiety and Depression During Childhood and Adolescence." PsychologyWriting, 13 Mar. 2023,


PsychologyWriting. (2023) 'Anxiety and Depression During Childhood and Adolescence'. 13 March.


PsychologyWriting. 2023. "Anxiety and Depression During Childhood and Adolescence." March 13, 2023.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Anxiety and Depression During Childhood and Adolescence." March 13, 2023.


PsychologyWriting. "Anxiety and Depression During Childhood and Adolescence." March 13, 2023.