Ainsworth's Stange Situation

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  • AINSWORTH'S STRANGE SITUATION (1969)
    • AIM
      • Observe key attachment behaviours as a means of assessing the quality of a child's attachment to a caregiver
    • METHOD
      • Controlled observation
        • Measure the security of attachment a child displays towards caregiver
      • Laboratory
        • Two-way mirror
      • Behaviours used to judge:
        • Proximity seeking
        • Exploration and secure base behaviour
        • Stranger anxiety
        • Separation anxiety
        • Response to reunion
      • Seven episodes
        • 1. Child encouraged to explore
          • Exploration and secure base
        • 2. Stranger comes in and tries to interact with child
          • Stranger anxiety
        • 3. Caregiver leaves child and stranger together
          • Separation and stranger anxiety
        • 4. Caregiver returns and stranger leaves
          • Reunion and secure base behvaviour
        • 5. Caregiver leaves child alone
          • Separation anxiety
        • 6. Stranger returns
          • Stranger anxiety
        • 7. Caregiver returns and is reunited with the child
          • Reunion behaviour
    • FINDINGS
      • 3 main types of attachment
        • Type A
          • Insecure-avoidant attachment (20-25%)
            • Explore freely
              • Do not seek proximity or show secure base behaviour
            • Little reaction when PCG leaves or comes back
            • Do don't require comfort at reunion
            • Little stranger anxiety
        • Type B
          • Secure attachment (60-75% British)
            • Explore happily but regularly go back to PCG
              • Proximity seeking and secure base behaviour
            • Moderate separation distress and stranger anxiety
            • Accept comfort from the PCG in reunion
        • Type C
          • Insecure-resistant attachment (3% British)
            • Explore less
              • Seek greater proximity
            • Huge stranger and separation distress
            • Resist comfort at reunion
    • A03
      • Support for validity
        • Secure = better outcomes in many areas
        • Insecure-resistant = bullying in childhood and adult mental health
      • Good reliability
        • Very good inter-rater reliablilty
        • Behaviours categories are easy to observe
        • Different observers agree on classification of the child
        • Bick et al. 2012
          • Looked at inter-rater reliability in a team of stange situation observers
            • Agreement on 94% of attachment type
      • One more attachment type
        • Main and Solomon 1986
          • Minority of children display atypical attachments that are not A B or C
            • Called disorganised attchment
              • Mix of resistant and avoidant

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