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Outline and evaluate research into the effects of institutionalisation.
Firstly, Hodges and Tizard investigated the effects of institutionalisation by
studying 3 groups of children. The first group had been in a orphanage for two
years but were then adopted. Whilst they suffered from privation in the first 2
years they did form a strong attachment to their foster parents, as there foster
parents had high motivation to provide a high level of emotional care. These
children generally recovered from the privation they experienced. The second
group, were in the orphanage for 2 years but they were then restored to their
parents. These children formed the weakest attachment with their parents and
found it hard to make and keep friends. They were also rated as quarrelsome by
their teachers at school. The third group never went to an orphanage, and were
found to be emotionally and sociably stable. They were less likely to become
bullies and had a good ability to make friends.
Secondly, Spitz, studied the effects of privation in South American orphanages.
He observed that nurses rarely interacted with the children, even when they were
being fed. Many of the children were found to be suffering from anadictic
depression which is characterised by apprehension, sadness, and sleep problems
and refusing to eat. One third of the children died before their first birthday
despite good medical care.
Thirdly, Widdowson studied a group of children who were suffering from
deprivation dwarfism in an orphanage. A change in diet didn't improve things for
the children so the supervisor was changed, which improved things for the children.
The old supervisor was cruel to them but the new one wasn't. Widdowson therefore
suggested that good emotional care was more important than physical care to
maintain the health of children in orphanages.
The study by Hodges and Tizard had good levels of population validity as it
looked at a large sample of 51 children. This allowed the results to be generalised
to other cases. It also had good levels of ecological validity as this was a study
that happened in real life, so the results can be generalised to other real life
cases of institutionalisation. However, this was a longitudinal study so the
experiment suffered from attrition. The experiment took place over 16 years, so
some participants dropped out. Those who dropped out were properly affected
more than the ones remaining. Therefore the final sample of participants will be
biased and so the results cannot represent what the effects of institutionalisation
The research conducted by Spitz had a high level of ecological validity as it
looked at real orphans in real orphanages. However there were low levels of
population validity as Spitz only studied the effects of institutionalisation in
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South American orphanages. Different orphanages in other countries may provide
different care so those children may develop differently.
The research conducted by Widdowson has good levels of ecological validity as the
study involved a real group of children who were suffering from deprivation
dwarfism. This means that the results can be generalised to real life. Also, the
conclusions drawn have high internal validity as variables such as change in diet
were accounted for.…read more