Robertson and Bowlby

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  • Robertson Disruption of Attachment
    • Aim
      • To identify the short term effects of separation from the caregivers on young children
    • Procedure
      • Naturalistic observation
      • Children 1-4 placed in residential nurseries by parents as mother away (mainly in hospital)
      • Films made using time sample methods to avoid observer bias
      • Behavioural and emotional reactions were observed
    • Findings
      • There are 3 stages in the child's response to separation
      • 1. Protest: cries, screams, protests angrily when parents leave (cling to parents)
      • 2. Despair: protests subside and appear calmer (refuse other comfort)
      • 3. Detachment: if separation continues might get attached to new carer (could reject parent when comes back
    • Evaluation
      • As filmed others can check consistency and interpretation
      • No control over variables (length of separation, culture, attachment type)
      • High ecological validity and no demand characteristics
      • Lacks historical validity as 1952
    • Conclusion
      • Emotional effect can result in emotional damage but rarely results in bond disruption
      • Greater separation anxiety was most common long term effect

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