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Disruption of attachment
Disruption is when an attachment has been formed but then broken. This can cause lots of
Disinhibited attachments are a type of disorganised attachment where the child is
overfriendly and attention seeking to people who may be strangers.
Robertson and Robertson:
Robertson and Robertson provided a foster home for 4 children under the age of 3 (Jane, Lucy,
Thomas and Kate) whose mothers were in hospital. They provided high levels of substitute
emotional care and kept the routines similar to what they were used to. Their fathers also visited
regularly. All the children settled in well, but Kate went to see her mother in hospital and then
settled even better. Sometimes they showed some distress (e.g. avoiding cuddling) but they
slept well and didn't reject their mothers on reunion.
John (a different child) was put into a residential nursery for 9 days while his mother was in
hospital, and his father visited him regularly. For the first 2 days, he behaved normally. He then
became attentionseeking to try to get the nurses to notice him (they were nice but always busy,
and they change shifts regularly so the care isn't constant), but this didn't work as there were
more assertive children there. John resorted to seeking comfort from a big teddy bear, and starts
to refuse food and drink, stops playing and cries a lot. When his mother comes to take him
home, he screams and struggles to stop her. He has anger outbursts at her for several months
Skeels and Dye:
Orphanage (control group) vs emotional care from mentally ill adults
Control group's IQ decreased significantly, but transferred group's increased significantly
Privation is the failure to form any attachments.
Hodges and Tizard:
65 British orphans who had been in institutional care since before 4 months old (no attachments)
Assessed at regular intervals up to 16 years old
The institution didn't allow staff to form attachment with the children
At an early assessment, 70% were unable to care deeply about anyone
3 groups: still in institution, exinstitutional (adopted), restored to original family
Adopted formed as strong attachments with primary caregiver as `normal' children
Restored less likely to form attachments with mothers
Both adopted and restored had difficulties with peers and tended to be bullies. They showed
many signs of disinhibited attachments.
Romanian orphans 100
Assessed them at 4, 6 and 11 years old
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Those adopted by British families before 6 months old had normal emotional development.
Adopted after 6 months old = disinhibited attachments and peer problems
Put in isolation since before 2 years old until 13 years old
When found she couldn't speak or stand up straight.…read more