AS unit 2 - Attachment

How attachment develops, how it effects furture relationship with studies.


Development of Attachment

Attachment is a close emotion bond between two people. The two will seek to keep a close proximity to one another.

Schaffer and Emerson (Glaswegian study)

- Done in Glasgow

- Natuarlistic observation, longitudianl study

- Had 60 infant

- Speration distress and stranger anxiety was recorded

- Specific attachment was developed by 7 - 8 months (25 - 32 weeks)

- 61 % of the infants became attached to those who fed them

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Strange Situation (**)

Done by Mary Ainsworth in Uganda, then in USA

- Controlled observation of 12 - 18 months old infants

- Included 7 episode (each 3 minuets long)

- 66% securly attached

- 22% insecure avoidant (cba babies)

- 12% insecure resistant (ambivalent babies)

- The type of attachment depends on the sensitivity of the carer (caregiver sensitivity hypothesis)

Secure infants find it easier to get close to others. Insecure avoidant find it difficult to trust others and insecure resistant want to merge completly with others.

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Caregiver Hypothesis

Kagan - Questioned the explination of attahment types give by Ainsworth. He argued it overemphasised the role of the mother and ignored the childs temperament (personality).

Belsky and Rovine - Assessed new born babies and found two types of babies. One type was calm, less anxious and more friendly. The other group was anxious, stressed and hostile. They suggested some babies were naturally vunerable to stress and displayed high levels of anxiety, which made attachments hard to from.

Thomas and Chess - Found 3 types of temperaments. Easy (which slept well, fed well, etc). Difficult (axious, stressed,etc). And slow to warm up (slept alot, had to be woken, etc)

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Cross Culture research into attachment

Van Ljzendoorn and Kroonenberg (Dutch research) - Did a meta-analysis on 32 ** studies of infants below 24 months.

The study involved 5 western and 3 non-western countries, however there is a uneven amount of studies in each of the countries (18 in USA and 1 in China), the report also doesn't say how many infants were invoved in each of the studies.

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Learning Theory (cupboard love theory)

Classical Conditioning - Learning through association of two stimulus, which become associated or linked. The caregiver is associate to food, and feels safe and secure whenever the caregiver is present.

Operant Conditioning - Learning through reinforcement, behaviour is rewarded, so it's repeated for the reward. It suggests that hunger produces a drive state and uncomfort. The infant cries to try to reduce the drive state and discomfort. The caregiver feeds the infant in an attempt to stop the crying. This reduces the drive state and produces a feeling of pleasure. The food becomes the primary reinforcer and the caregiver the secondary reinforcer. The child seeks to be with the caregiver from now on.

However this theory is criticised of oversimplifying the complexity of the human nature. Harlows Rhesus Monkeys found that emotional needs are more important than psysical to a infant

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Bowlbys theory (evolutionary theory)

Innate programming - Attachement had evolutionary value since human babies are born defenceless they rely on the adults. Both adult and infants are innately programmed to form an attachment, as it is a reciprolcal attachment. Social releasers are used to gain response of the adults. The key to the attachment is proximity, as if they caregiver and infant are seperated they feel anxiety (the infant feels vunerable and the caregiver worries if the infant's fine).

Monotropy - There is one special bond (usally with the mother but not always). The first attachment provided the infant with a "internal working model" (prototype) for all relationships.

Schaffer and Emerson - found 57% of infants had more than one attachment by 10 months, and 87% had more than one attachment by 18 months.

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Bowlbys theory (evolutionary theory) cont.

Continuity Hypothesis - There is a link between early and later attachments. Future relationships depend on early relationships. Secure infants develop a positive internal working model, based on the feeling of security. Insecure infants develope a model of themselves being unacceptable and unworthy based on the primary caregivers attitudes to them.

Shaver and Hazen - Infants with secure attachments have a happy relationships as adults.

Critical Period - There is a period where it is essiential to form a bond (2 - 3 years). If an attachment is not formed within this period it will be impossible afterwards.

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Disruption of attachment

Bowlby claimed disruption would have negative effects thats would be irreversible. However, the Robertsons found that emotional harm can be prevented if good substitue care was provided instead.

Robertsons - Natralisitc observation, studied john who in a nursery for 9 days. He became increasingly withdrawn and dispair. His appetite diminished, stopped playing and appeared angry at his mother when he was reunited (she'd been in hospital).

Syndrome of distress

1) Protest - Infant crys/shows distress, shouts and is comforted by nurses.

2) Despair - Increasingly distressed. Crying for longer periods, may start hand wriggling, playing alone in a corner, unresponsive to comfort from others, but will seek comfort objects.

3) Detachment - Appear emotionally detached/withdrawn from people, resist comfort and show anger when reunited.

Secure infants cope better with seperation because of trust.

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Bowlby suggested that if attachment wasn't formed within the critical period, then there would be serious social (relationships) and emotional (trust) damage, which would be perminent.

Privation is usally the result of civil war or conflicts, where children lost their parents and were taken into institutions. In any case privation is the result of no chance to form a secure, emotional and loving bond. Privation is studied by : -

- Institutional studies - Children brought up in institutions from a young age.

- Case studies - In depth studies into one or a small number of infants, usually experiencing extreme conditions such as total isolation.

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Tizard and Hodge (Privation study)

Tizard and Hodge

- Longitudinal study of children from 4 months to 16 years

- 65 infants started at 4 months, 51 children by 8 years old and 39 by 16 years old.

- Natralistic experiment, which used qustionnaires and interviews of the children, the parents and the teachers

- They were split into 3 groups

- 25 in restored (were returned to their biological parents)

- 33 were adopted

- 7 remainded in the institution

Attachment was discouraged in the institutions. The children had 24 differnet carers by age 2 and 50 differnet carers by age 4.

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Tizard and Hodge cont.

Tizard and Hodge found

Aged 8

The adopted children developed healthy and strong relationships with the adopted parents and siblings as they were much wanted.

The restored children had ambivilent relationships with their parents and siblings, as they were restored to the difficult circumstances, which caused them to be sent to the institutions in the first place.

Boths groups had problems at school. The teachers reported that they were attention seeking, restless, dsobedient, quarrelsome and less popular, with no special/best friend.

Aged 16

They found the same results at aged 8

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Koluchova twins (Privation research)

- Twins locked in a cellar for 5 years.

- Found at aged 7, with no speech, terrified of people and serious health problems dues to malnutrition.

- They were put into shcools for children with learning difficulties.

- Aged 17 they had normal IQ, were happy, sociable and good relationships with the adopted parents and families.

- Aged 31, they were married, with steady relationships and had children.

- No psycological damage.

This shows that the effects of privation are reversible unlike Bowlby suggested, however this is a unqie case, as they had each other to form a relationship with and this is a small sample.

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Day care

Socail development has two parts to it - Development of sociability - The tendency to seek and enjoy the company to make personal relationships with others.

The socialisation process - Where the individuals aquire the knowlege values, social skills and sensitivity to others, which enables them to be part of society.


- Longitudinal study of 1000 children, from diverse backgrounds and 10 different locations

- Found children aged 5 were rated more by adults as assertive, disobedient and aggressive, no matter what kind of quality the day care was.

- Children in full time day care were 3 times more likely to have problematic behaviour, than those who were cared for at home.

Belsky found the effects of day care emerged later in life to from negative effects.

Kopp suggested day care disrupted cognitive development

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Day care cont.


- Longitudinal study.

- Observed 4 year olds, at day care and then again 8 during play sessions.

- Aged 4 - 20 children were observed for 16 minuets - Looking for - positive/ negative interaction with peers, with adults and solitary play.

- Observation at aged 8 - video taped for 45 minuets through a one way glass, while the children were engaged in socail play in trends.

- Behaviour catergories included - Friendly, unfriendly bahaviour and solitary play.

Found children in good quality day care had more friendly interactions with adults and rated empathy, social competence and peer acceptance at age 8. Patterns/trends show that good quality day care (low staff turn over, good psycical and emothinal care, low child staff ratio) leads to good effects.

Field found similar results and the children engaged extra curricular activities.

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This is really helpful! Thank you :)

Chee Wai Chan


no prob, i've just gone through it again to correct the spelling mistakes i made :)

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