Attachment Theory and Dissociative Identity Disorder

Attachment Theory

Shirley J. Davis
5 min readJun 24, 2022


Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Everyone has attachment behaviors depending on their upbringing. So, it is essential to understand this vital part of who we are as human beings. John Bowlby’s attachment theory helps explain the behaviors of those who experienced severe and repeated childhood trauma.

This article will attempt to explain attachment theory and how it relates to the experiences of those diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder.

Piaget and Abnormal Development of Personality in Children

At the turn of the century, a pioneer psychologist named Jean Piaget began developing a new model of how children develop. He believed children construct their worldview based on what they experience. This theory is known as the Cognitive Development Theory.

Piaget’s work and many, like Adler and Erikson, showed they believe the most crucial part of a human’s psychological development happens in the early childhood years, somewhere between birth and five years.

That fact, more than any, may explain why early childhood trauma can damage a child’s personality development.

Young children who face severe and repeated victimization fail to integrate the parts that make up the ego states of every human being. Not only this, but the trauma causes impaired growth and development of essential brain regions such as the amygdala and hippocampus.

John Bowlby

John Bowlby was a psychologist from England and a psychoanalyst who postulated that early childhood attachments play a vital role in later life. Dr. Bowlby and Dr. Mary Ainsworth’s work significantly affected the development of attachment theory.

Attachment theory states that infants have an inborn need to form an attachment bond with a caregiver. Bowlby defined this attachment to a caregiver as a “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings.”

This is an evolutionary response to increase a baby’s survival chances that go along with cooing and crying to meet the baby’s needs. Bowlby believed children come into the world biologically programmed to seek close attachment to a caregiver.



Shirley J. Davis

I am an author/speaker/grant writer in the U.S. My passion is authoring information about mental health disorders, especially dissociative identity disorder..