Attachment Revision

Those of you doing attachment

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  • Created on: 18-05-09 22:00
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Attachment is the close emotional relationship between two people, which
involves a feeling of wellbeing and a desire to be close. Although
attachments occur throughout your life, the attachment made between an
infant and caregiver is particularly important.
Development of attachments
Infants have an innate ability to seek interactions with other individuals.
This is known as sociability and is integral to the phases in the
development of attachment (Schaffer, 1996).
The table below summarises the four stages of this process:
Phase of Age
Characteristics of phase:
attachment: range:
At about 6 weeks, infants begin to treat other
Preattachment 03
humans differently from objects by smiling and
phase months
gurgle at them.
Indiscriminate Infant can distinguish between familiar and
attachment unfamiliar people but is quite happy to be
phase comforted by anyone.
Infant distinguishes between carers and strangers
Discriminate and exhibits distress or separation anxiety when
attachment left alone (they have developed object
phase permanence) and may be fearful of the
Attachments develop with other people (for
9+ example, grandparents or brothers and sisters),
months although the original attachment remains the
This 'stage' approach is allwellandgood but it largely ignores individual
differences: Infants develop different types of attachments at different
rates. It is also specific to Western society, as other cultures were not
Types of attachment
The different types of attachment were investigated by placing 1218
monthold infants in an increasingly stressful environment or 'Strange
Situation' (Ainsworth et al., 1978).
This table shows the stressors placed on the infant and the
observations made of his or her behaviour:
Stressors: Observations:
Unfamiliar room Reaction to caregiver leaving

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Caregiver leaves the Reaction to caregiver
room returning
Stranger in the room Reaction to the stranger
Bowlby's theory of attachment has been particularly influential and
generated much further research. He was influenced by the psychodynamic
approach and findings from nonhuman animal studies. He suggested that
there was a critical period for the formation of attachments between
infants and caregivers.
Bowlby's notion of monotropy suggests that infants have an innate
tendency to become attached to one individual.…read more

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This view is supported by Bowlby's research into the case histories of 44
juvenile thieves (Bowlby, 1946). He found that 86% of thieves exhibiting
affectionless psychopathy had spent considerable time in hospitals or
foster homes as infants. Only 17% of nonaffectionless thieves had the
same experiences. Bowlby concluded that disruption during attachment
formation was responsible for the poor emotional development.
Although this research had massive influence, it relied on retrospective
evidence and the degree of separation varied greatly between the infants.…read more

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Cannot generalise
Girl locked in a room for most findings.
of early life with little outside
contact. Retrospective
Aged 13 physical problems,
poor social skills and no Genie may have had
Genie (Curtiss,
language abilities. innate psychological
Education led to the recovery
of much ability but language A series of carers
and social skills remained meant that Genie
poor. continued to lack a
stable, loving home.…read more

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Adopted and restored children experience problems forming
relationships outside the home (possibly owing to low selfesteem or
poor emotional development caused by early experiences).
A wide variation in relaionship formation meant that some adopted
children did badly and some restored children did well. This means
that individual differences are important factors.
A biased sample was left at the end of the study because greater
numbers of well adjusted restored children and maladjusted adopted
children dropped out.…read more

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findings showed that the cognitive ability of those children who started day
care earlier was lower than that of the later starters (Baydar and
BrooksGunn, 1991).
Operation Head Start was implemented in the USA in the 1960s. It was a
programme of preschool education to encourage the cognitive
development of working class children. In the shortterm, the cognitive
improvements were achieved but these faded in the longterm.…read more


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