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AS Psychology ­ Attachment
What are attachments?
When both the mother and baby feel a close and reciprocal emotional link that ties them
What is a bond?
A bond is a set of feelings that ties one person to another e.g. when a mother feels for her
baby still in the womb.
Attachments in infancy usually have the following characteristics:
Seeking proximity to ensure safety
Distressed on separation but joy on reunion
Stanger anxiety
These are all demonstrated around 7 months.…read more

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Indiscriminate attachment phase (3-7/8 Discriminate between familiar and
months) unfamiliar people, smiling more at known
people but still allows strangers to look
after them.
Discriminate attachments phases (7/8 Develop specific attachments by staying
months onwards) close to particular people and distressed
when separated. Avoid unfamiliar faces
and protest if stranger handles them.
Multiple attachment phase (9 months Strong emotional ties with other major
onwards) caregivers and non-caregivers like
children. The fear of strangers weakens
but a strong attachment with mother.…read more

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Supportive co-parenting ­ the amount of support a father gives to his partner in
helping to care for children affects type of attachment.
Supporting case studies:
Geiger (1996) father interactions are more fun than mothers as mother's
interactions are more nurturing and affectionate. This supports idea that fathers
are playmates not care givers.…read more

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Stranger re-enters and
offers to comfort and
play with baby.
The findings were:
% Type of Description Mother's behaviour
20 Insecure Avoidant Unconcerned by mother's Unresponsive.
absence. Unresponsive upon
Child feels unloved and
return. Strongly avoidant of
mother and stranger.
70 Secure Upset, subdued when mother Sensitive and responsive.
leaves. Happy on reunion. Child feels positive and
Avoidant of stranger when loved ­ knowing that the
mother not there, but OK mother can be relied upon
when present. when needed.…read more

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Infants showed signs of distress although they could be withdrawn from the
observation if too distressed.
Doesn't acknowledge infant's past experience ­ e.g. used to spending time in day
care so not upset when mother leaves the room
It may be measuring temperament ­ kagan suggests the child could have an in born
temperament which determines attachment
Cultural variations ­
Cross-cultural research may suggest that cultures may be important in patterns of
attachment.…read more

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The learning theory Bowlby Monotropic theory
The learning theory suggest that all behaviours Bowlby believed that children
including attachments are learnt and that we are evolve to display behaviours that
born with a tabula rasa/blank slate. This theory keep them close to proximity
focuses on rewards from the caregiver in terms of increasing their survival chances.
food and comfort. There are two types of These behaviours are called social
conditioning: operant conditioning, which is used releasers.…read more

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Research has shown that children are
things that can be directly observed. able to form attachments well beyond the
critical period. Cases of severely neglected
children show that children are able to
form attachments beyond 2 years (Czech
twins, isolated by mum from 18months to
7 years when found they were adopted by
two loving parents and formed an
Bowlby's maternal deprivation
What is maternal deprivation - is the emotional and intellectual consequences of
separation between a child and their mother or mother substitute.…read more

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Failure to distinguish between deprivation and privation ­ Rutter argues that
Bowlby had confused the 2 concepts and may actually be looking into privation not
Effects of institutionalisation ­
Privation ­ a failure to form an attachment in early life.
Some children spend a lot of time in institutional care for example in an orphanage or
children's home. This may be due to family breakdown or the inability of the caregiver to
look after the child.…read more

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The children were
assessed at regular intervals up to the age 16. By the age of 4, 24 of the institutionalised
children had been adopted, 15 of them had returned to their natural homes and the rest
remained in institution.
The children were assessed at ages 4,8 and 16 on emotional and social competence
through interviews and questionnaires (parents, teachers and peers were also interviewed)
They found some differences between the adopted and restored children.…read more


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