Mary Ainsworth's Attachment Characteristics

Mary Ainsworth's Attachment  Characteristics

I have compiled these notes as part of my AS Psychology course. The notes are a brief overview of Mary Ainsworth's Attachment Characteristics, and are part of the AQA Psychology A Specification.


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  • Created by: James
  • Created on: 11-01-11 21:43
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Characteristics of Attachment
Secure Attachment (Type B)
Distress on Separation
Pleasure on Reuniting
Stranger Anxiety
Insecure Attachments
Anxious - avoidant attachment (Type A)
No distress on separation
No pleasure on reuniting
No stranger anxiety
Anxious - Resistant attachment (Type C)
Extreme distress on separation
Mixed reaction on reuniting
o Shouting
o Hitting
o Crying
So distressed that the child does not consider the stranger
Mary Ainsworth's "The Strange Situation"
To identify the different attachment types in mother-baby relationships
The research was a Laboratory experiment and had an artificial environment with a manipulated
IV. There were 8 episodes in total beginning with the orientation then progressing onto the
Mother leaving and returning and a stranger interacting with the child.
The experiment measured the 3 characteristics of attachment:
Separation from the mother
Reuniting with the mother
Reaction to a stranger
The observer recorded the behaviour and discovered the following:
1 AS Level Psychology

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Type B: 70%
Type A: 15%
Type C: 15%
The mother's sensitivity is responsible for the attachment type
High mundane realism
Demonstrates cause and effect
Demand characteristics from the mother
Ethical issues
o Consent from parent but not from baby
o Psychological harm to both mother and baby
Low ecological validity
Experimenter Bias
Extraneous Variables
2 AS Level Psychology…read more


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