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Attachment: Individual Differences
Not an `all or nothing' process.
Variation between children in the attachments they form.
Ainsworth & Bell (1971)
Controlled observation of children's attachment
behaviour using the "Strange Situation Classification'
Mother leaves her child in an unfamiliar environment.
A stranger came closer to the child.
Looks at separation protest, stranger anxiety and
Separation protest is also called separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is defined as feelings of negative
emotions such as loss, loneliness, and sadness that are
experienced by individuals when they are separated from
an important person in their life. Separation anxiety is
typically used to describe the reaction of an infant who is
separated from a major caregiver such as the mother or
father. Separation anxiety, however, has also been noted
to occur at other times during an individual's life. For
example, the term is used to describe parents' reactions to
leaving their young infant. Separation anxiety may also be
experienced, at any age, when a significant person in one's
life is lost due to death.
An infant learns to recognize her parents within the first
few months of birth by sight, sound, and smell. Until about
six months of age, the baby will usually seem interested in
other adults as well, engaging in games such as
peek-a-boo. After six months, many babies undergo a
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The child may burst into tears if an unknown
person makes eye contact or shriek if left even
momentarily in the care of an unfamiliar person.
Three patterns of attachment:
1. Secure (70% of sample)
2. Insecure avoidant (20%)
3. Insecure resistant (10%)
Attachment type was determined by primary carer's
Upset/ subdued (quiet, controlled) when mother left.
Positive/happy when she returned.
Avoidant of strangers but only friendly when mother is
Sensitive and responsive primary care.…read more