The social network: A reconsideration of the concept of attachment

Marsha Weinraub, Jeanne Brooks, Michael Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The concept of attachment is reviewed and is found to be somewhat confusing and restrictive. An alternative to this concept, a social network approach, is offered to clarify the issues central to the study of social relationships. First, the following definition features of attachment are critically examined: (1) the affectionate quality of the relationship; (2) the role of proximity-seeking and maintaining behaviors; (3) the enduring quality of the relationship; (4) the uniqueness of the relationship and differentiality of behavioral expression; (5) attachment as an all-or-nonc phenomenon, and (6) attachment as a ‘tie’, ‘bond’, or ‘behavioral system'. Second, a social network approach is presented and specific propositions concerning this approach outlined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-47
Number of pages17
JournalHuman Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1977
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


  • Affectionate relations Attachment
  • Cultural differences
  • Family relations Proximity-seeking
  • Social network


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