What is the problem with an insecure attachment?

Consistent neglect and lack of loving care causes the infant stress and the production of the stress hormone, cortisol. Prolonged and uncontrolled exposure to cortisol can lead to permanent changes in the brain. This can lead to physical, mental and emotional difficulties in childhood and on into later life, e.g:

In the early years:

  • Reduction of brain development (Gunnar, 2003)
  • Digestive system problems (Talbott, 2007)
  • Asthma and nervous skin disorders (Sandberg, 2010)
  • Childhood depression (Frodl, 2010)

And later in life:

  • Depression (Bakersman-Kranenburg, 2009)
  • Elevated or blunted stress levels (De Bellis, 2005)
  • Difficulty forming relationships (Strathearn, 2009)
  • Physical health problems e.g. inflammatory disorders (Carpenter, 2010)
  • Criminal or addictive behaviours (Dunedin study)