ATTACHMENT - Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis

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  • Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis
    • General info
      • Separating a young child from its mother (or permanent substitute) causes lasting psychological damage
      • Affectionless psychopathy: can't feel emotion due to a previously broken attachment or privation, where they have never had an attachment in their life
      • 3 types of disruption: short-term separation, long-term separation, institutionalisation
      • def - separation: short-term disruption of an attachment bond
      • def deprivation: long-term disruption of an attachment bond
      • def privation: never having formed an attachment bond
    • Short-term separation - Bowlby and Robertson (1952)
      • model that explains S.T.S is the PDD model
        • protest: immediate reaction to separation. Involves crying, screaming, kicking and generally struggling to escape or clinging to the mothr to stop her leaving
        • despair: calmer behav replaces initial struggle. Child seems apathetic but feelings of anger and fear locked up. May not react to others offers of comfort yet may comfort itself eg. thumbsucking
        • detachment: if separation continues for longer periods, the child may begin to respond to people again,  but everyone is treated alike - no preference. When mother returns, she may be 'rejected' as she did the child
      • Robertson and Robertson (1967-73) - studied children under 3 during periods of short separation. 9 days: John's mother in hospital (had good rel with her before), distress among separation. Upon arrival, John had short outbursts against mum but ran into fathers arms. He continued to have short outbursts against mum
      • Douglas (1975) - separation of less than a week for children below 4 years were correlated with behaviour problems. Supports MDH
      • Quinton and Rutter (1976) - Greater behavioural problems in adolescents separated briefly before 5 years through hospitalisation
      • Robertson & Robertson (1971) - took children facing short-term separation into their own home to provide them with alternative attachment figure and normal home routine. Prevented severe psychological damage. Against: MDH
      • Barrett ('97) - individual differences: securely attached children will cope better than insecurely attached children.
      • evidence linking S.T.S and negative outcomes is correlational and doesn't show causality. Kagan (1978) found no link between separation and later emotional and behavioural difficulties.
    • Long-term deprivation
      • involves lengthy or permanent separation from attach.fig, common = divorce but can include death, imprisonment or adoption
      • 40% of marriages in UK end with divorce. Within 2/3 yrs of divorce, 50% of divorced parents not living with their children (usually father) - lost contact with kids
      • Rodger & Pryor (1998) - children experiencing 2 or more divorced have the lowest adjustment rates and more behavioural problems. Continual broken attachs increase chances of negative consequences. Supports MDH
      • Furstenberg & Kiernan (2001) - children experiencing divorce score lower than children in 1st marriage families: social develop, emotional well-being, self-concept, academic performance and physical health. Supports MDH
      • Schaffer (1996) - all children were negatively effected by divorce short-term.
      • Hetherington & Stanley-Hagan (1999) - 25% of children experience long-term adjustment problems with most children able to adapt. Suggests negative outcomes are more short than long term. Against MDH
      • Divorce - negative effect on develop. However, it can be an escape from an abusive parent or a battlefield between parents. Assumption you won't see one as much
      • Demo & Acock (1996) - children have a wide variety in behavs during divorce - some children may develop stronger attachs. Removal of negative environment and being more supportive to children after divorce?
      • Practical application - UK - marital counselling - impact on children. USA - legal requirement to attend an education programme, to teach about the negative consequences of disrupting attach
      • Adolesence worst time for divorce - hormones influence behav - relies on stable parents
      • young children may not understand the significance of divorce
      • Richards (1987) - disruption of attach through divorce leads to resentment and stress, while death of parent = depression. Separation for diff causes produces diff outcomes. Long term = greater
    • Privation
      • disruption = fairly common , due to situations like daycare, when a child is separated from caregiver
        • More extreme and rare situations (institutional care / child neglect) - attach not formed at all
      • Curtis (1977) - Genie study. She was raised in extreme isolation, lacing emotional care until she was discovered at 13. Regularly beaten by mother. On discovery = appearance similar to 6 yr old, couldn't walk or talk, had no interest in others. Genie failed to recover from privation, after extreme help, IQ raised from 38 to 75. She was also abused in foster homes after being found
        • deprivation dwarfism - lack of attention shows down growth
      • Koluchova (1976) - Czech twins Andrei and Vanya - mother dies from giving birth. Institutionalised for 11 months with no true attach figure. Abusive step-mother. Raised in isolation for 5 yrs - not allowed to leave house,  kept in closet or cellar. Discovered age 7 - couldn't walk or talk well, very fearful. Significant recovery from privation - grew up to be married and had good rel with kids.  Against MDH
      • Freud & Dann (1951) - 6 children in concentration camps with no attach figures. Rescued at 3-4 and taken to Bulldog Bank in Sussex. Closely bonded and couldn't be separated. Couldn't talk, didn't know what to do with toys and hostile to adults. Became attached to carers and made rapid physical and intellectual capabilities. Good recoveries in later life. Against MDH
      • It may be due to the Czech twins and Bulldog Bank children having each other that they were able to make good recoveries. Genie didn't have anyone
      • extreme cases of privation - unethical to use other esearch methods
      • case studies dependent on retrospective memories that may be selective or incorrect. eg. Genie's mother gave conflicting stories of what happened to Genie
      • Bowlby's viewpoint that the negative effects of maternal deprivation are irreversible seem overstated. Children that had privation followed by positive experiences had positive outcomes
      • can't really generalise studies - not representative
      • some children that experience privation experience reactive attachment disorder (RAD) - psychiatric condition
        • Characteristics: history of neglect, freq change of caregivers, no preferred attach.fig, can't relate to others or form rels.
        • 2 types of RAD: INHIBITED - withdraw, introverted and unable socially to cope. DISINHIBITED: attention seeking, overly friendly and familiar with others
      • factors affecting recovery from privation
        • positive or negative school experience
        • child continuing poor experiences with caregivers (Genie)
        • restored to natural parents - PDD model, Robertson & Robertson (John)
        • If occurs for long amount of time - worse
        • Turner and Lloyd (1995) - privation alone can't explain psychological damage - multiple risk factors (poor care following privation)
    • Institutionalisation
      • effects on attachment from care provided in orphanages and children's homes
      • def: institutional care - childcare provided by orphanages and children's homes
      • institutional care often involves a mix of deprivation and privation effects
      • Hodges and Tizard (1989) - 65 British children placed in institution when they were less than 4 months with no attach. In institution, caregivers not allowed to form attach with children. 70% of children unable to care for other people - emotional privation (lack of attach rather than disruption)
        • age of 4, 24 children = adopted, 15 = returned to original homes. Adopted children had formed close attachs and recovered well.
      • Bowlby (1944) - 44 thieves - 1/2 separated from mothers for longer than 6 months before age 5. Control group - only 2. 32% and no controls had affectionless psychopathology (didn't care for others, had no remorse).
      • Spitz (1946) - staff members in institutions were overworked and untrained, rarely talked to them or picked them up, even when feeding. Children showed anaclitic depression - reaction to loss of loved object, and developmental retardation
      • Rutter (2006) - multiple carers provided at children's homes led to the formation of disinhibited attachs - children throw themselves at anyone, desperate for attach.
      • early studies of institutionalised children that Bowlby based MDH on had methodological flaws - institutions didn't provide stimulating environments - lack of stimulation rather than lack of maternal care that led to developmental retardation
      • Tizard and Hodges study - more socially skilled children could've been adopted so found it easier to form attachs.
        • study suffered from atypical sample attrition - over time, certain types of PPs drop out - affecting reliability of results
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  • A03
  • Evidence (studies)

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