Ainsworth and Bell (Strange Situation)
The aim was to produce a method that allowed them to assess the quality of attachment in a child.
The mother and child were introduced to a room, allowed to investigate the toys, a stranger enters the room and talks with the mother, then walks to the child and begins to play, the mother leaves and then returns, picking up the child while the stranger leaves, after this the child is left alone, then the stranger returns and engages with the child, the mother then returns to comfort the child.
They used 100 middle class american infants and their mothers, in a controlled laboratory observation, measuring stranger and separation anxiety and reunion behaviour.Findings concluded that 15% were type A (insecure avoidant), 70% were type B (secure) and 15% were type C (insecure resistant). TYPE A: little separation protest, avoid caregivers contact, not wary of strangers and ignored by parents at times. TYPE B: some separation protest, comforted upon reunion, some stranger anxiety and sensitive mothers. TYPE C: lots of separation protest, resists comfort, very wary of strangers and ambivalent mothers.
Evaluation of Ainsworth and Bell.
Main and Soloman claimed there was a fourth type of attachment (TYPE D: insecure, disorganised and disorientated) and therefore the study did not account for all children.
The study also lacks mundane realism because it was not a natural setting and therefore this could have affected their behaviour.
Culturally biased due to the fact that there were only american infants.
It could also be argued that 20 minutes is not long enough to assess their attachment type accurately and therefore results may not have been 100% valid.
High in internal validity due to the fact that it was a lab experiment and therefore is extremely reliable.
Researchers found that those children, 18 months later had the same attachment type and therefore is more reliable.