Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-wg55d Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-20T16:42:45.160Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Some Pathological Processes Set in Train by Early Mother-Child Separation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 February 2018

John Bowlby*
The Tavistock Clinic, London


It is charactersitic of mental ill-health that the individual's capacity to make continuous co-operative relations with others is impaired. In the psychoses and psychopathic conditions this is unmistakable; in the neuroses it is sometimes less so, and there are even neurotic patients who seem to be especially kind and co-operative. But we know that they only achieve this behaviour at great cost of effort, anxiety and guilt and that, if they break down, they can be very hostile and withdrawn.

Part I.—Original Articles
Copyright © Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1953 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Ainsworth, M., and Boston, M., “Psycho-diagnostic Assessments of a Child after Prolonged Separation in Early Childhood,” Brit. J. Med. Psych., 1952, 25, 169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bowlby, J., Maternal Care and Mental Health, 1951. Geneva: W. H. O. Monograph No. 2. (London: H.M.S.O.)Google ScholarPubMed
Fuller, J. L., “Situational Analysis,” Psych. Rev., 1950, 57.Google ScholarPubMed
Klein, M., Contributions to Psycho-Analysis, 1948. London: Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
Lorenz, K., King Solomon's Ring, 1952. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
Maier, N. R. F., Frustration: the Study of Behaviour without a Goal, 1949. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
Russell, R., “The Comparative Study of ‘Conflict’ and ‘Experimental Neurosis,’” in Prospects in Psychiatric Research, 1953. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Scott, J. P., “The Relative Importance of Social and Hereditary factors in Producing Disturbances in Life Adjustment during Periods of Stress in Laboratory Animals,” in “Life, Stress and Bodily Disease,” Res. Publ. Ass. Neur. Ment. Dis., 1950, 29, 6171.Google Scholar
Idem , Fredericson, E., and Fuller, J. L., “Experimental Exploration of the Critical Period Hypothesis,” Personality, 1951, 1, 162183.Google Scholar
Submit a response


No eLetters have been published for this article.