Subtitle/Alternate Title

How do our relationships impact us?

First Advisor

Dr. Amanda Miller


Dr. Rona McCall


Regis College

Degree Name


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

54 pages


The importance of social relationships for our survival and optimal development has been emphasized repeatedly in scientific literature. Research suggests that a child’s initial relationships with their caregivers establishes their attachments and eventually mediates the child’s sense of security in the world. If the child is adequately cared for, they will form a secure base to experience the world from. In this thesis, I explore research on attachments and parental deprivation in non-human primates. I contribute my own data on the maternal behaviors of Costa Rican mantled howler monkeys to reinforce the non-human primate literature. I then synthesize these findings in the context of human attachment literature, shedding light on the evolutionary and survival-oriented dimensions of attachments, and demonstrating their continued relevance in the modern human context. These deterministic findings on the effects of early trauma and dysregulated attachments can be disheartening to those who were denied love and support from a caregiver during infancy and childhood. Therefore, I question the degree of power our early attachments have on our long-term development and well-being by investigating resiliency and the human capacity to prosper in the context of trauma and disrupted attachments. Throughout this thesis, I aim to contribute valuable insights into the intricate interplay between early attachments, resilience, and overall human development, and ultimately suggest that our early attachments are not entirely deterministic of our long-term development.

Date of Award

Spring 2024

Location (Creation)

Denver, Colo.

Rights Statement

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