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When a person is separated from their family or other persons to whom they have a strong emotional relationship, they develop separation anxiety, a condition in which they experience excessive quantities of anxiety. The main causes of this illness may be hereditary and physiological factors or environmental influences. A person may be forced to move to another location, either alone or with family, leaving behind people to whom they have developed an emotional bond. This is an environmental aspect that may cause separation anxiety. The illness primarily affects infants and young children because this is the age when they begin to adjust to their environment (Kossowsky et al. 178-187). Since the condition onsets at infancy, the children grow up to become clingy adults due to this disorder.
Traits such as constant fear when one anticipates a change in the constituents of his or her family, persistent refusal to go out, excessive fear or reluctance of being alone or without major attachment figures (Silove and Marnane 92-97), constant refusal to sleep away from home and repeated nightmares revolving around the theme of separation directly or indirectly indicates that the individual suffers from separation anxiety disorder.
An adaptive hypothesis that can be derived in this case is that “a child who is separated from his or her parents at a tender age would become a clingy adult when he or she grows up”. To study this, a sample of children who were separated from their parents at a tender age can be taken. The lives of these children would be then taken through a series of observations where the children would be placed in different situations and circumstances. Their behaviors and reactions would be then recorded and through this one would help conclude whether this hypothesis is true or not.
Kossowsky, Joe et al. "Separation Anxiety Disorder In Children: Disorder-Specific Responses To Experimental Separation From The Mother". Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 53.2 (2011): 178-187. Web.
Silove, Derrick, and Claire Marnane. "Overlap Of Symptom Domains Of Separation Anxiety Disorder In Adulthood With Panic Disorder–Agoraphobia". Journal of Anxiety Disorders 27.1 (2013): 92-97. Web.
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