Attachment essay plan

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  • ‘Outline and evaluate research into cultural variations in attachment’
    • Mary Ainsworth (1970)
      • Research in the USA, but child rearing practices vary considerably from place to place in terms of environment, traditions and beliefs about children.
    • Two main types of cultures
      • Individualist Cultures
        • value independence with each working to their own individual goals
        • E.g. USA, Europe (Western cultures)
      • Collectivist Cultures
        • value cooperation with each working towards the family or group goals
        • E.g. Japan, Israel (Eastern cultures)
    • Van Ijzendoorn & Kroonenberg 1988
      • Aims: 1.Invesigate the types of attachment across the cultures and to see how 3 main attachment types apply.
        • Aims: 2. Investigate if attachment styles (secure and insecure) are universal, or culturally specific due to traditions, the social environment, or beliefs about children.
      • Procedure: They didn’t collect the data themselves, instead they analysed data from other studies using meta analysis method.
        • Procedure: Data from 32 studies in 8 different countries were analysed. All 32 studies used the strange situation procedure to study attachment.
          • Procedure: Using a meta analysis they calculated the average percentage for the different attachment types in each country.
            • Attachment styles: Secure, avoidant, resistant.
      • Findings: Secure attachment was the most common type of attachment in all cultures.
        • Findings: Lowest % of secure attachments were shown in China
          • Findings: Highest % of secure attachments were shown in Great Britain
        • Findings: Individualistic countries that support independence such as Germany had high levels of anxious avoidant
        • Findings: Collectivist cultures such as Japan, had quite high levels of ambivalent resistant.
          • Ambivalent resistant = anxious resistant insecure attachment
      • Conclusion: The overall consistency in secure attachment types lead to the conclusion that there may be universal (innate) characteristics that underpin infant and caregiver interactions.
        • Conclusion: The significant variations of insecure attachments demonstrate that universality is limited. Implications include the linking of the variation in attachment to child rearing practices and environmental factors.
          • Conclusion: German study highlights a high % of avoidant behavior, typical of independent children. Grossman et al 1985 said that German parents seek ‘independent,non-clingy infants, who don’t made demands on parents, but obey their commands.'
            • Conclusion: Israeli children were reared in Kibbutz (communal living), so were used to being separated from their mother. They don’t sow anxiety when their mother leaves. But they are not used to strangers so get distressed when left alone with strangers. High % of resistant behaviour.
      • Evaluation: Strange situation test assumes that behaviour has the same meaning in all cultures, but cultural perception and understanding of behaviour differ greatly.
        • Evaluation: Strange situation was created and tested in the USA, therefore it may be culturally biased as it will reflect the norms and values of American culture.
          • Evaluation: Many studies have biased samples which cannot claim to be representative of each culture. e.g. 36 infants in the Chinese study. Also, most of the studies analysed were from Western Cultures.
            • Evaluation: Van Ijendoorn and Kroonenberg report that differences in attachment within a culture are far greater than those found between cultures.
              • Evaluation: It is wrong to think of everyone in a culture having the same child rearing practices. Within a culture there are many sub-cultures ask with their own way of rearing children.
                • Evaluation: Social class specific, ethnically or racially based studies.
                  • E.g. UK: ‘middle classes’ have different child rearing practices to the ‘working class'
                  • Evaluation: 1.5x greater variation within a culture than between a culture.
                    • 1 of the German samples was as different from another German sample as it was different from an Israeli Kibbutizm sample.
                    • The Israeli city sample was more like the US than it was to the Israeli Kibbutzim sample.
                    • 1 of the Japanese samples was more similar to 2 of the USA samples than to the other Japanese sample.


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