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Attachment is an emotional bond between two people, which endures over time and
where separation leads to anxiety and distress.
Bowlby's Theory of Attachment
Bowlby's Definition of Attachment:
A warm and continuous loving relationship with one person (monotropy). It is a two
way process.
Bowbly's Theory
Typically, attachment occurs between a mother and baby, although Bowlby did state
that it may occur with a `main care giver'.…read more

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One strength of Bowlby's theory is that it has practical applications. Before
Bowlby's theory was commissioned, children had to stay in hospital on their own,
which caused them a lot of distress. After the theory was brought to public attention,
parents were actively encouraged to stay with their children, resulting in them being
less distressed.
Another strength is that Bowlby drew on a great deal of evidence from a range of
areas.…read more

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Ainsworth studied 26 families and observed the interactions between the
mother and child.
She also interviewed mothers about their sensitivity.
Ainsworth identified 3 patterns of attachment: securely attached, insecurely
attached and not yet attached.
Mothers that knew a lot about their baby and were sensitive to their needs
tended to have securely attached babies that cried less and used more
vocalisation and gestures.
The infants that were not yet attached had mothers that used less physical
contact and were not around as much.…read more

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Ainsworth ­ The Strange Situation
Following the observations in Uganda, Ainsworth developed the strange
situation procedure.
It is a structured observation using a standardised procedure so that each
mother and child has the same experience, allowing the responses to be
carefully recorded for comparison.
There are 8 stages to the strange situation procedure:
1. The parent and baby enter the room (a lab set up with toys and comfy chairs.
2. The parent does not interact with the child, who is left to explore.
3.…read more

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Attachment Types and Results of USA Study
Securely Attached
Children used their mother as a safe base for exploration.
Children were distressed when their mother left and showed separation
Children wanted comfort from their mother when she returned.
In the USA study, 70% were securely attached.
Anxious Avoidant
The child is equally happy with the stranger as the mother.
Children were not distressed when the mother left.
The child tends to avoid the mother when she returns.…read more

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Evaluation of Ainsworth's ideas of Attachment
Ainsworth has worked in the field of attachment for many used meaning she can
draw on a wealth of data. She has carried out many studies including the strange
situation, and has drawn similar conclusions for each, therefore the conclusions she
has made can be seen as reliable.
Although she often used lab based experiments to gather data, Ainsworth did use
naturalistic observations and interviews.…read more

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The Stange Situation - Cross Cultural Studies
Japan ­ Takahashi (1990)
60 middle class babies were used.
68% showed secure attachment, 0% were anxious avoidant and 32% were
anxious resistant.
Japanese mothers almost never leave their children, particularly alone with a
Japanese babies sleep with their parents until at least 2 years old.
During the study, many of the children displayed such intense distress that the
`baby alone' stage had to be stopped.…read more

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Evaluation of Cross Cultural Studies of the Strange Situation
It could be concluded that cultural differences lead to different attachment patterns.
However, it is NOT TRUE that children outside of the USA are worse off because of the
differences in secure attachment. We should really look at whether the cultural
differences are related to future development, and if so, how.
Takahashi's study cannot be generalised to all Japanese babies.…read more


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