Mary Ainsworth

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  • Mary Ainsworth
    • Worked with John Bowlby, Looked at different types of attachement
    • Used a naturalistic observation of mothers across cultures in Boltimore and Uganda.
      • From this she developed her STRANGE SITUATION
        • 'Strange' because the children have never been placed in a situation unkown to them normally. It is a laboratory PROCEDURE.
        • Each mother and baby has the same experience due to a standardised procedure
        • from this came three attachment types which were observed.
          • SECURELY ATTACHED: TYPE B:     these children were distressed when the mother left and wanted comfort when she returend.
            • In 1978, 70% of children were securely attached
            • Links to a mother who is attentive to her childs needs.
          • INSECURE  AVOIDANT:  TYPE A: These children were not distressed when their mother left and avoided her when she came back, equally as happy with a stranger - suggests neglect and abuse.
            • 20-25% of British Children are classed as type A
          • INSECURE RESISTANT: TYPE C: These children were unsure about their mother and didnt' consider her reliable. wanted to be close to her but rejected comfort
            • About 3-5% of children in Britain are this type. Rare
    • Noticed that there was a relationship between the responsiveness of the mother and the reactions of the baby.
    • She also noticed that children use their mothers as a secure base.


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