Stages of attachment

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  • Schaffer's stages of attachment
    • Aims
      • To investigate attachments in the first 18 months of life
    • Design
      • Longitudinal study
    • Method
      • 60 babies in Glasgow visited in home fore first 18 mnths of life. Visited at monthly intervals and a regular pattern was identified in the development of attachment. Their interactions with carers was observed and carers interviewed
    • Findings
      • Attachments most likely to form with those who respond accurately to babys signals, not person who spent most time with or fed them. S+E called this sensitive reponsivness. Mnay babies had several attachments by 10 mnths.
    • Stages of attachment
      • Asocial
      • Indiscriminate attachment
      • Specific attachment
      • Multiple attachment
    • Evaluation
      • A weakness is that a key problem with longitudinal studies is attrition (people dropping out). This affects the sample size. Therefore there is a lower external validity because you cannot generalise from a small sample
      • A strength is that it was not done as a laboratory observation like the strange situation was. Therefore there is a higher ecological validity because it was done in a natural environment
      • A weakness is that it was only done on Glasewegian infants and their carers. Therefore there is a low population validity and so cannot be generalised to other countries and cultures


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