HideShow resource information

Caregiver-Infant Interactions

  • Reciprocity
  • Babies have periodic 'alert phrases' and signal that they're ready for interaction - mothers typically pick up on and respond to infant alertness around 2/3 of the time
  • From around 3 months this interaction tends to be increasingly fequent and involves close attention to each other's verbal signals and facial expressions
  • An interaction is reciprocal when each person responds to the other and elicts a resonse from them
  • Traditional views of childhood have seen the baby in a passive role, recieving care from adult - baby ca have an active role though, both mother and child can initiate interactions (take turns)
  • Interactional Synchrony
  • Can be defined as 'the temporal co-ordination of micro-level social behaviour' - it takes place when mother and infant interact in such a way that their actions and emotions mirror the other
  • Meltzoff and Moore (1977) oberve beginnings of IS in infants as young as 2 weeks old - an adult displayed 1 of 3 facial expressions or distinctive gestures - child's response filmed and identified by independent observers
  • An association was found between the expression/gesture the adult gave and the actions of babies
  •  Believed that IS is important fr development of mother-infant attachment
  • Isabella et al (1989) observed 30 mothers and infants together and assessed the level of synchrony - researchers also assessed the quality of mother-infant attachment
  • Found high levels of synchrony associated w/ better quality mother-infant attachment
1 of 28

Caregiver-Infant Interactions Evaluation

  • It's Hard to Know What's Happening When Observing Infants
  • Many studies involving observation of interactions between mothers and infants have shown the same patterns of interaction
  • What's being observed is hand movements or changs in expression - difficult to be certain wht's happening from the infant's perspective
  • We can't know for definite that behaviours sen in mother-infant interaction have a special meaning
  • Controlled Observations Capture Fine Detail
  • Observations of mother-infant interactions are usually wel-controlled procedures - both mother and baby being filmed from multiple angles - ensures fine details are recorded and analysed
  • Babies don't know they're being oberved so behaviour doesn't change - generally a problem for observations - Strength as research has good validity
  • Observations Don't Tell us the Purpose of Synchrony and Reciprocity 
  • Feldman (2012) points out that synchrony (and reciprocity) simply describes behaviours occuring at the same time
  • They can be reliably observed but don't tell us their purpose
  • There is evidence that reciprocal interaction and synchrony are helpful in the development of mother-infant attachment - as well as helpful in stress responses, empathy, laguage and moral development 
2 of 28

Attachment Figures

  • Parent-Infant Attachment
  • Schaffer and Emerson (1964) found majority of babies became attached to mother first and within a ew weeks/months formed secondary attachments
  • 75% of infants studied had an attachment formed w/ father by 18 months - determined by the fact infants protested when father walked away
  • The Role of the Father
  • Grossman (2002) carried out a longitudinal study looking at both parents' behaviour and its relationship to the quality of attachments into the teens 
  • Quality of infant attachment w/ mothers but not fathers was related to child's attachments in adolescence - father attachment less important
  • Quality of fathers' play w/ infants was related to quality of adolescent attachments - suggests fathers have different role on attachment (more to do w/ play and stimulation)
  • Fathers as Primary Carers
  • Tiffany Field (1978) filmed 4 month old babies in face-to-face interaction w/ primary caregiver mothers, secondary caregier fathers and primary caregiver fathers
  • Primary fathers spent more time imitating, smiling and holding infants than secondary fathers - behaviour appears important in building attachment
  •  Fathers can be nurturing attachment figure - key is level of responsiveness not gender of parent
3 of 28

Attachment Figures - Evaluation

  • Inconsistent Findings on Fathers
  • Different researchers interested in different questions - some psychologists are interested in understanding fathers as primary attachment figure and others on secondary attachment figure
  • It has been found that fathers can have a 'maternal' role but also have a distinct role, behaving differently to mothers
  • Problem as it means psychologists can't easily answer what the role of fathers actually is due to conflicting evidence
  • If Fathers Have a Distinct Role Why Aren't Children W/out Them Different?
  • Grossman found that fathers as secondary attachment figures had an important role in children's development - other studies have found children growing up in single or same-sex parent families don't develop any differently to those raised w/ a mother and father
  • Suggests father's role as a secondary attchment figure isn't important
  • Why Don't Fathers Generally Become Primary Attachments?
  • Could be to do w/ traditional gender roles - women more caring and nurturing than men
  • It could be that female hormones create higher levels of nurturing - mothers biologically pre-disposed to be primary attachment figure
4 of 28

Schaffer and Emerson

  • Study involved 60 babies (31 male and 29 female) - all from Glasgow and majority from skilled working class families
  • Babies and mothers visited at home every month for the 1st year and again at 18 months - researchers asked mothers questions about the kind of protest their abbies showed in 7 everyday situations e.g. adult leaving the room - This was designed to measure infant's attachment - the researchers also assessed stranger anxiety
  • Beween 25-32 weeks of age about 50% of babies showed signs of seperation anxiety towards a particular adult (usually mother)
  • Attachment tended to be to caregiver who was most interactive and sensitive to infant signals and facial expressions - not necessarily the person they spent most time with
  • By 40 weeks old 80% of babies had a specific attachment - 30% displayed multiple attachments
  • Good External Validity - Study carried out in families' homes and most observation done by parents during ordinary activities and later reported to researchers - behaviour of babies unlikely to be affected by presence of observers - ppts behaved naturally = good external validity
  • Longitudinal Design - same children followed up and observed regularly - better internal validity
  • Limited Sample Characteristics - Sample size of 60 babies and carers was good considering large volume of data that was gathered on each ppt - the fact all families were from same district and social class and over 50yrs ago is a limitation - child-rearing practices vary from 1 culture to another and through history - results don't generalise well to other social and historical contexts
5 of 28

Stages of Attachment

  • Stage 1: Asocial Stage
  • Baby recognising and forming bonds w/ carers - behaviour towards non-human objects and humans is quite similar
  • Babies show preference for familiar adults - find it easier to calm them - babies happier in presence of other humans
  • Stage 2: Indiscriminate Attachment
  • 2-7 months babies display more observable social behaviour - show a preference for people rather than inanimate objects
  • Recognise and prefer familiar adults - babies usually accept cuddles and comfort from any adult - don't usually show seperation or stranger anxiety - behaviour indiscriminate
  • Stage 3: Specific Attachment
  • From around 7 months majority of babies start to display anxiety towards strangers and to become anxious wen seperated from a particular adult - formed a specific attachment
  • Primary caegiver not necessarily the person the baby spends most time with but the one who offers most interaction and responds to the baby's signals w/ most skill
  • Stage 4: Multiple Attachments
  • Shortly after forming 1 particular attachment babies usually extend this to multiple attachments w/ others with whom they regularly spend time - secondary attachments - By about 1yr old most infants have formed multiple attachments
6 of 28

Stages of Attachment - Evaluation

  • Problems Studying Asocial Stage
  • Schaffer and Emerson describe first few weeks of life as the asocial stage - important interactions take place within these weeks
  • Problem is that babies have poor co-ordination and are practically immobile - difficult to judge them based on observations of their behaviour (not much to observe)
  • Conflicting Evidence On Multiple Attachments
  • It isn't entirely clear when multiple attachments form - some research indicates most babies form an attachment w/ a primary caregiver before being able to form multiple attachments
  • Some believe babies form multiple attachments from the outset - these cultures are collectivist because families work together jointly in everything
  • Measuring Multiple Attachment
  • May be a problem with how multiple attachment is assessed - just because a baby is distressed when an individual leaves the room doesn't make them the 'true' attachment figure
  • Bowlby showed that children have playmates as well as attachments - they get upset when a playmate leaves but it doesn't signify attachment
  • Problem for stages of attachment as the observations don't leave us w/ a way of distinguishing between behaiour shown towards secondary attachment figures and playmates
7 of 28

Lorenz's Research

  • Lorenz setup a classic experiment in which he randomly divided a clutch of goose eggs - half the eggs were hatched w/ the mother goose in their natural environment and the other half were hatched in an incubator where the 1st moving object they saw was Lorenz
  • The incubator group followed Lorenz everywhere - the control group followed the mother goose
  • When the groups were mixed up the control group continued following mther and experiemental group Lorenz
  • Lorenz identified a critical period in which imprinting needs to take place - this an be a few hours after hatching
  • Lorenz aso investigated sexual imprinting - in a case study he described a peacock that had been reared in a reptile house (the 1st thing it saw was a giant tortoise) - the bird would only direct courtship behaviourtowards giant tortoises 


  • Generalisability to Humans - some of his findings have influenced our understanding of humans but there is problems in generalising it
  • The mammalian attachment system is quite different to birds - not appropriate to generalise Lorenz's research to humans
  • Some of Lorenz's Observations Have Been Questioned - Guiton et al (1966) found that chickens imprinted on yellow rubber gloves would try to mate w/ them as adults but that w/ experience they eventually learn to prefer mating w/ other chickens
  • Suggests impact of imprinting on mating behaviour is not as permanet as Lorenz believed
8 of 28

Harlow's Research

  • Tested the idea that a soft object serves some of the functions of a mother - he reared baby monkeys w/ 2 'mothers' (1 wire and 1 cloth)
  • The wire mother dispensed/gave milk whereas the cloth mother didn't
  • Monkeys cuddled to the cloth mothers even when the wire mother was dispensing the milk - showed that 'contact comfort' was of more importance to the monkeys than food

Maternally Deprived Monkeys as Adults

  • Harlow also looked in to monkeys who had been deprived of a real mother into adulthood to see if maternal deprivation had a permanent effect
  • Monkeys reared w/ wire mothers were the most dysfunctional but none developed normal social behaviour - bred less often than normal monkeys as well
  • As mothers deprived monkeys often neglected their young and others attacked their children

Critical Period for Normal Development

  • Harlow concluded a critical period for behaviour - a mother had to be introduced within 90 days for an attachment to form - after this attachment was impossible
9 of 28

Harlow's Research - Evaluation

  • Theoretical Value
  • Findings have a profound effect on understanding of mother-infant attachment
  • Harlow showed attachment doesn't have to develop as the result of feeding but of contact comfort
  • Also showed importance of the quality of early realtionships for later social development e.g . holding down relationships / raising children
  • Practical Value
  • Harlow's research has had important applications in a range of practical contexts - helped social workers understand the risk factors of child neglect and abuse
  • Findings also important for the care of captive monkeys e.g. importance of attachment figures for monkeys in zoos or breeding schemes in the wild
  • Ethical Issues
  • Monkeys suffered greatly as a result of Harlow's research - the species is considered close enough to humans to generalise the findings meaning suffering was probably human like 
10 of 28

Learning Theory and Attachment

Classical Conditioning

  • Food (unconditioned stimulus) and being fed gives pleasure (unconditioned response)
  • Caregiver (neutral stimulus) - the person becomes associated w/ food becoming the conditioned stimulus
  • Once conditioning has taken place, the caregiver (conditioned stimulus) gives a response of pleasure (conditioned response)

Operant Conditioning

  • Crying leads to a response from the caregiver e.g. feeding - as long as the caregiver gives the correct response the crying is reinforced
  • The baby then directs crying for comfort towards the caregiver who responds w/ comforting behaviour
  • The caregiver recieves negative reinforcement when stopping a baby crying as it is escaping from something unpleasant

Attachment as a Secondary Drive

  • Hunger is a primary drive (an innate, biological motivator) - attachment is a secondary drve leared by an association between the caregiver and the satisfaction of the primary drive
11 of 28

Learning Theory and Attachment - Evaluation

Counter-Evidence From Animal Research

  • Lorenz's geese imprinted before they were fed and maintained these attachments - Harlow's monkeys attached to a soft surrogate rather than a wire one which was dispensing milk
  • Clear that attachment doesn't form as a result of feeding - the same must be true for humans

Counter-Evidence From Human Research

  • Shaffer and Emerson's study many of the babies developed a primary attachment to their biological mother even though others did most of the feeding
  • Limitation of learning theory as it shows that feeding isn't a key element of attachment

Learning Theory Ignores Other Factors Associated W/ Forming Attachments

  • Research into early infant-caregiver interaction suggests that the quality of the attachment is associated w/ other factors e.g. reciprocity and interactional synchrony
  • Studies have also shown that the best quality attachments are w/ those that pick up infant signals and respond appropriately
  • It's hard to reconcile these findings w/ cupboard love - there would be no purpose for complex interactions if attachment was only based on feeding
12 of 28

Bowlby's Monotropic Theory

  • Monotropy - Placed great emphasis on a child's attachment to a particular caregiver - believed that the child's attachment to this one caregiver is different and more important than the others
  • Bowlby called this person 'mother' but emphasised this didn't have to be the biological mother - believed the more time we spend w/ this figure the better
  • 2 principles: 1) the law of continuity - stated that the more constant and predictable a child's care, the better the quality of the attachment. 2) the law of accumulated seperation - stated that the effects of every seperation from the mother add up (the safest dose is a zero dose)
  • Social Releasers and the Critical Period - Bowlby suggested that babies are born w/ a set of innate 'cute' behaviours e.g. smiling, cooing and gripping that encourage attention from adults - social releasers because their purpose is to activate the adult attachment system
  • Bowlby recognised attachment was a reciprocal process - both mother and baby have an innate predisposition to become attached (social releaser trigger response)
  • Interplay between infant and adult attachment builds the relationship - critical period is 2 years when the infant attachment system is active 
  • Internal Working Model - A child forms a mental representation of their relationship w/ their primary caregiver - internal working model because it serves as a model for what relationships are like - effect on future relationships
13 of 28

Bowlby's Monotropic Theory - Evaluation

  • Mixed Evidence for Monotropy - Bowlby believed babies formed 1 attachment to primary caregiver - after this was established multiple attachments be formed
  • Not supported by Schaffer and Emerson (1964) -  found most babies did attach to 1 person first but they also found a significant minority that were able to form multiple attachments at a time
  • Unclear whether there's something unique about the 1st attachment - studies of attachment to mother and father tend to show that attachment to mother is more important in predicting later behaviour - could simply be that attachment to primary caregiver is stronger not different in quality
  • Support for Social Releasers - Brazelton et al (1975) observed mothers and babies during their interactions reporting existence of interactional synchrony - observation was extended to experiment in which primary caregivers were told to ignore baby's signals - babies initially showed distress but some responded by curling up and lying motionless
  • Children acting so strongly supports Bowlby's ideas about significance of infant social behaviour in elicting caregiving
  • Support for Internal Working Models - Bailey et al (2007) tested idea of attachment patterns being passed through generations - assessed 99 mothers w/ 1yr old babies on quality of attachment to mothers using a standard interview
  • Also assessed attachment of babies to mothers by observation - found mothers who reported poor attachments to own parents were more likely to have children classified as poor according to the observations
  • Supports idea that an internal working model of attachment was being passed through families   
14 of 28

The Strange Situation

  • A controlled observation procedure designed to measure the security of an attachment - takes place in a room with controlled conditions w/ a 2-way mirror that psychologists can observe through
  • The behaviours used were:
    Proximity seeking - infant w/ good attachment will stay close to caregiver
    Exploration and secure-base behaviour - good attachment = a child able to explore w/ parent as a secure base
    Stranger anxiety - display of anxiety when a stranger approaches
    Seperation anxiety - protest at seperation from caregiver
    Response to reunion - w/ caregiver after seperation for a short period of time
  • Seven 'situations':
    1) The child encouraged to explore                      2) A stranger comes in and tries to interact w/ infant

    3) Caregiver leaves child and stranger together  4) Caregiver returns, stranger leaves
    5) Caregiver leaves child alone                            6) Stranger returns
    7) Caregiver returns and reunited w/ child
  • Ainsworth et al (1978) found there were distinct ways the infants behaved - 3 types of attachment were identified:
    Secure (Type B) - Explore happily but regularly go back to caregiver. Show moderate seperation distress and moderate stranger anxiety. Require and accept comfort at reunion stage
    Insecure-avoidant (Type A) - explore freely but don't seek proimity. Little reaction when caregiver leaves and make little effort to make contact when caregiver returns. Little stranger anxiety - don't require comfort at reunion
    Insecure-resistant (Type C) - seek greater proximity so explore less. Huge stranger and seperation distress but resist comfort when reunited w/ caregiver
15 of 28

The Strange Situation Evaluation

  • Support for Validity - Babies assessed as secure typically go on to have better outcomes in a number of areas
  • Insecure-resistant attachment associated w/ the worst outcomes e.g. bullying in later childhood
  • Evidence for validity of the concept as it can explain subsequent outcomes
  • Good Reliability - Very good inter-rater reliabilty - observers watching the same children in the Strange Situation generally agree on what attachment type to classify them with
  • May be due to the Strange Situation taking place under controlled observations - behavioural categories easy to observe
  • Bick et al (2012) looked at inter-rater reliability in a team of trained Strange Situation observers - found agreement on attachment type for 94% of tested babies
  • We can be confident that the attachment type of an infant doesn't just depend on who is observing them
  • Test Can Be Culture-Bound - Cultural differences in childhood experiences are likely to mean that children respond differently to Strange Situation
  • Caregivers from different cultures behave differently in the Strange Situation
  • Takahashi (1990) noted that the test doesn't work in Japan as Japanese mothers are so rarely seperated from their children - high levels of seperation anxiety
  • Reunion stage - mothers would rush up to baby and scoop them up (child's response hard to observe)
16 of 28

Cultural Variations

Van Ijzendoorn

  • van Ijzendoorn and Kroonenberg (1988) conducted a study to look at the proportions of secure, insecure-avoidant and insecure-resistant attachments across a range of countries
  • Also looked at variations within a country
  • Reserachers located 32 studies of attachment where the Strange Situation had been used - 32 studies conducted in 8 countries
  • The 32 studies yielded results for 1990 children - data was meta-analysed


  • There was wide variations between the proportions of atachment types in different studies - secure attachment was most common in all countries
  • Insecure-resistant the least common type - insecure-avoidant observed most commonly in Germany (least common in Japan)
  • Variations between results within the same country were 150% greter than between countries
17 of 28

Cultural Variations

  • Italian Study
  • Simonella et al (2014) conducted a study in Italy to see whether the proportions of babies of different attachment types still matches those found in previous studies
  • Researchers assessed 76 12-month olds using Strange Situation
  • 50% secure - 36% insecure-avoidant - lower rate of secure attachment than found before
  • Possibly due to increasing numbers of mothers of very young children work long hours and use childcare - cultural changes can affect attachment patterns
  • Korean Study
  • Jin et al (2012) conducted a study to compare the proportions of attachment types in Korea to other studies - Strange Situation used to assess 87 children
  • Overall proportions of insecure and secure babies similar to those in most countries
  • More infants classified as insecure were resistant - only 1 avoidant
  • Japan and Korea have similar child-rearing styles - explaining why the results of the countries were similar
  • Conclusions
  • Secure attachment the norm
  • Cultural practices influence attachment types
18 of 28

Cultural Variations - Evaluation

  • Large Samples
  • Strength of combining results from different countries = large sample
  • van Ijzendoorn had a total of almost 2000 babies - Simonella and Jin also had large comparison groups
  • Overall sample size a strength as large samples increase internal validity - reduces impact of anomalous results
  • Samples Unrepresentative of Culture
  • Comparisons in van Ijzendoorn between countries NOT cultures
  • Within a country there are many cultures with different child-rearing
  • Study by van Ijzendoorn and Sagi (2001) found that distributions of atachment type in Tokyo were similar to Western studies but a more rural smaple had different results
  • Comparisons between coutries have little meaning
  • Method of Assessment Biased
  • Cross cultural psych includes ideas of etic (cultural universals) and emic (cultural uniqueness)
  • Strange Situation designed by American reseracher based on British research - can Anglo-American theories and assessments be applied to other cultures?
  • Trying to apply a technique based on 1 culture to another is imposed etic E.g. a lack of seperation anxiety and lack of pleasure on reunion indicate an insecure attachment in the ** - seen as independence in Germany not avoidance
19 of 28

Maternal Deprivation

  • Theory proposed by Bowlby - focused on idea that continual presence of nurture from mother is essential for normnal psychological development of infants
  • Being seperated from the mother has serious consequences
  • Seperation = the child not being in the presence of a primary attachment figure - only an issue for development if child is deprived
  • Brief seperations aren't significant for development but extended seperations can lead to deprivation (harm)
  • 1st 30 months of life = critical period for psychological development
  • Psychological damage inevitable if child is seperated from mother in absence of suitable substitute carer - deprived of emotional care for an extended period
  • Intellectual Development - if children are deprived of maternal care for too long during the critical period they would suffer mental retardation - low IQ
  • Demonstrated in studies of adoption - Goldfarb (1947)
  • Emotional Development - Bowlby identified affectionless psychopathy as the inability to experience guilt or strong emotions for others
  • Prevents a person developing normal relationships - associated w/ criminality (lack remorse for their victims)
20 of 28

Bowlby's 44 Thieves

  • Procedure
  • Study examined link between affectionless psychopathy and maternal deprivation
  • Sample consisted of 44 criminal teenagers accused of stealing - all thieves were interviewed for signs of affectionless psychopathy
  • Their families were also interviewed to see whether the 'thieves' had prolonged seperation form mothers in early life
  • A control group of non-criminal but emotionally disturbed young people was set up to see how often maternal deprivation occured in the children not thieves
  • Findings
  • Bowlby found that 14 of 44 thieves were described as affectionless psychopaths - 12 of these had experienced prolonged seperation from mother in 1st 30 months of life
  • Only 5 of remaining 30 thieves experienced seperations
  • Of control group 2/44 had experienced long seperations
  • Prolonged early seperation/deprivation causes affectionless psychopathy
21 of 28

Maternal Deprivation - Evaluation

  • Evidence May be Poor
  • Bowlby's evidence for maternal deprivation included studies of orphaned WW2 children, those growing up in poor quality orphanages and his 44 thieves
  • War-orphans traumatised and often had poor after-care - could be the factor for later developmental issues
  • Children growing up in poor quality orphanages were deprived of many aspects of care
  • 44 thieves had major design flaws e.g. bias
  • Counter-Evidence
  • Lewis (1954) partially replicated 44 thieves study on a larger scale - 500 young people
  • Found a history of prolonged seperation didn't predict criminality or difficulty forming relationships - problem for MD as it suggests other factors may affect outcome
  • Critical Period More of a Sensitive Period
  • Later research shown damage isn't inevitable  as long as there's good aftercare
  • Jarmila Koluchova (1976) reported cases of twin boys from Slovakia who were isolated from 18months old until they were 7
  • They were looked after by 2 loving adults and appeared to recover fully - period sensitive not critical
22 of 28

Romanian Orphans

Rutter's ERA Study

  • Rutter et al (2011) followed 165 Romanian orphans adopted in Britain to test to what extent good care could make up for poor early experiences in institutions
  • Physical, cognitive and emotional development has been assessed at ages 4, 6, 11 and 15
  • A group of 52 British children adopted served as control group
  • When first arriving in UK 1/2 adoptees showed signs of mental retardation - maj. severely undernourished
  • At 11 children showed differential rates of recovery that were related to age of adoption
  • Mean IQ of those adopted before 6mths was 102 - 86 for those adopted between 6mths and 2yrs - 77 for those adopted after 2yrs - differences remained at 16yrs
  • Appeared to be a difference in outcome of attachment depending on whether adoption took place before 6mths
  • Children adopted after 6mths showed signs of disinhibited attachment - attention seeking, clinginess, social behaviour directed indiscriminately towards all adults
  • Those adopted before 6mths hardly showed signs of disinhibted attachment
23 of 28

Romanian Orphans

  • Bucharest Early Intervention Project
  • Zeanah et al (2005) assessed attachment in 95 children aged 12-31mths who has spent most of their life in institutional care - compared to control group of 50 children never lived in institution
  • Attachment type measured using Strange Situation - carers asked about unusual social behaviour as well (disinhibited attachment)
  • 74% of control group came out as securely attached - 19% of institutional group secure and 65% disorganised attachment
  • Disinhibted attachment apllied to 44% of institutionalised children - 20% in control group
  • Effects of Institutionalisation
  • Disinhibted attachement - typical effect. Equally friendly and affectionate to familar and unfamiliar people - unusual behaviour
  • Rutter explained disinhibted attachment as an adaptation to living w/ multiple caregivers during sensitive period
  • Mental Retardation - Rutter's study - most children arrived w/ signs of retardation
  • Most of those adopted before 6mths caught up w/ control group by 5yrs
  • Damage to intellectual development can be recovered - adopted before 6mths
24 of 28

Romanian Orphans - Evaluation

  • Real-Life Application
  • Results have led to improvements in way children are cared for in institutions - orphanages and care homes avoid having large numbers of carers per child - have a key worker instead
  • Key workers mean children have chance to develop normal attachments and helps avoid disinhibited attachment
  • Fewer EVs Than Other Orphan Studies
  • Previous studies involved children who had experienced loss or trauma before being institutionalised
  • Hard to observe the effects of institutionalisation as there were confounding ppt variables
  • Romanian orphans - increased internal validity
  • Romanian Orphans Weren't Typical
  • Conditions were so bad that results can't be applied to understanding impact of of better quality institutional care or indeed any situation where children experience deprivation
  • Limitation because of situational variables - lacking generalisability
25 of 28

Attachment and Later Relationships

Internal Working Model

  • IWM acts as a template for future relationships
  • Quality of child's 1st attachment is crucial as the template will powerfully affect the nature of their future relationships
  • Child's 1st experience is of a loving relationship w/ a reliable caregiver will assume this is how relationships are meant to be
  • They will seek functional relationships - behave functionally within them
  • A child w/ bad experiences of 1st attachment will bring these experiences to later relationships

Relationships In Later Childhood

  • Attachment type is associated w/ quality of peer relationships in childhood - securely attached infants tend to go on to form the best quality childhood friendships whereas insecurely attached infants have friendship difficulties
  • Bullying behaviour can be predicted by attachment type - Myron-Wilson and Smith (1998) assessed attachment type and bullying invvlement using standard quesionnaires in 196 children aged 7-11 from London
  • Insecure-avoidant children most likely to be victims and resistant children most likely to be the bully
26 of 28

Attachment and Later Relationships

Relationships in Adulthood w/ Romantic Partners

  • McCarthy (1999) studied 40 adult womn who'd been assessed when they were infants to establish early attachment type
  • Securely attached women had best adult friendships and romantic relationships
  • Insecure-resistant = problems maintaining friendships and insecure-avoidant = struggled w/ intimacy in romantic relationships
  • Hazan and Shaver (1987) conducted study of association between attachment and adult relationships
  • Analysed 620 responses to a 'love quiz' which had 3 sections - 1) assessed respondents' current/most important relationship 2) assessed general love experiences 3) assessed attachment type
  • 56% of respondents identified as securely attached, 25% insecure-avoidant and 19% insecure-resistant
  • Secure = longer lasting relationships, avoidant = jealousy and fear of intimacy

Relationships in Adulthood as a Parent

  • People tend to base parenting style on their own experience - internal working model
27 of 28

Attachment and Later Relationships - Evaluation

  • Evidence on Continuity of Attachment Type is Mixed
  • IWM predicts continuity between security of infants attachments and that of later relationships
  • Some studies eg. McCarthy support continuity providing evidence for IWM
  • Zimmerman (2000) assessed infant attachment type and adolescent attachment to parents - very little relationship between qualities
  • Problem as it's not what we expect if IWMs were important in development
  • Most Studies Have Issues of Validity
  • Most studies assess infant-parent attachment using interviews or questionnaires - validity problems
  • Assessment relies on self-report technique and validity is imited as they depend on respondents being honest and having a realistic view of their own relationships
  • Related problem concerns retrospective nature of assessment of infant attachment - lacks validity as it relies on accurate recollections
  • Association Doesn't Mean Causality
  • Alternative explanations for continuity existing between attachment type and later relationships
  • Environmental factor such as parenting style might have direct effecton attachment and child's ability to form relationships
  • Child's temperament may influence attachment and later relationships - limitation as it counters Bowlby
28 of 28


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Attachment resources »