Secure attachment is an emotional bond between children and caregivers that a psychologist named Mary Ainsworth observed. Ainsworth observed the behavioral reactions of children who were left alone for a period of time and then reunited with their mothers. Ainsworth reported that the children with secure attachments showed minimal distress when their mother left them alone and sought comfort when their mother returned. She noted that these children appeared to trust their caregivers would meet their needs. Additionally, the caregivers of children with secure attachments responded appropriately and consistently to their children's needs.
In contrast, the children without a secure attachment to their caregivers displayed more fearful, angry, confused, and upset behaviors than the securely attached children. The caregivers of these children did not respond consistently or appropriately to their children.