- Created by: Zoe
- Created on: 03-01-18 13:32
What is attachment?
Attachment can be difeined as an emotional bond between two people in which each seeks closeness and feels more secure when in the presence of the attachment figure
Reciprocity = a form of interaction between an infant and a caregiver involving mutual responsiveness (essentially they take turns to respond, and respond directly after eachother).
Babies have periodic 'alert phases' and signal that they are ready for interaction. Mothers typically pick up on and respond to an infant's alert phases two thirds of the time (Feldman and Eidelman 2007).
Traditional views of childhood suggest that babies take a passive role, however it appears babies do take a more active role. Both adults and babie can initiate interaction. Brazleton et al (1975) descibed this like a 'dance'.
Interactional synchrony = when a caregiver and infant interact in such a way that their actions and emotions mirror eachother.
Meitzoff and Moole (1977) observed the beginnings of interactional synchrony, in children as young as two weeks old. An aduly displayed one of three facial expressions or onr of three gesutes and the child's response was filmed. An association was found between the expresion or gesture in the adults and the actions of the children.
It is believed that interactional synchrony is important in the development of attachments. Isabella et al observed 30 mothers and infants and assessed the degree of sychrony. They found that high levels of synchrony were associated with good quality attachments.
IT'S HARD TO KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING WHEN OBSERVING INFANTS
- Many studies observing interaction have shown the same patterns of interation
- However what is being observed is merely gestures or changes in expressions
- It is difficult to be certain of the infant's perspective
- Is the infant's imitation of the gestures deliberate and conscious?
- Therefore we cannot be sure that these behaviours have a special meaning
CONTROLLED OBSERVATIONS CAPTURE FINE DETAIL
- Observations of these interactions are generally well-controlled
- Both infant and caregiver are filmed from multiple angles
- This ensures that fine details are recorded and later analysed
- Babies don't know or care that they are being filmed so no demand characteristics
- These are strengths as it shows the studies have high validity
OBSERVATIONS DON'T REVEAL THE PURPOSE OF THE INTERACTIONS
- Feldman (2012) points out that synchrony and reciprocity only describe behaviours that occur at the same time
- They are robust phenoma in the sense that they can be reliably observed, but this may not be particulary useful as it doesn't reveal the purpose
- However there is some research that suggests that these interactions are helpful in the development of quality attachments, as well as in stress responses, empathy, moral and language development
Traditonal attachment are reffered to as mother-infant.
Research by Shaffer and Emerson show that most infants attach to their mothers by 7 months.
They also found that 75% had attached to the father by 18 months.
Role of the Father
- *Possible 16 mark question on this, model answer here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABSQkOXAyDI
Grossman (2002) carried out a longitiudinal study looking at both parents' behaviour and the impact of this on the quality of attachments into their teens
Quality of infant attachment with mothers but not fathers was related to children's attachments in adolescence, suggesting that attachment to the father was less important
However, the quality of father's play with infants was related to the quality of adolsent attachments. This suggests that fathers have a different role in attachment - one more to do with play that nurturing
Fathers as Primary Caregivers
There is some evidence to suggest that when fathers take on the role of the primary caregiver, they adopt behaviour more typical of mothers.
Feid (1078) filmed four month ond babies in face to face interaction with primary caregiver mothers, secondary caregiver fathers and primary caregiver fathers. Like mothers, the primary caregiver fathes spent more time smiling, imitating and honding infants than secondary caregiver fathers.
This behaviour seems important in building attachments so it seems that fathers can be the more nurturing caregivers.
The key to the attachment relationship is the level of responsiveness not the gender of the parent.
INCONSISTANT FINDINGS ON FATHERS
- Research into the role of fathers in attachment is confusing because different researchers are interested in different research questions
- Some psychologists are interested in understanding the role fathers have as secondary attachment figures
- Others are concerned with the father as a primary attachment figures
- Research into the fathers as the secondary attachment figures tended to see fathers behaving differently from mothers and having a distinct role.
- Research into fathers as primary attachment figures showed fathers take on a more 'maternal' role.
- This is a problem as psychologists cannot identify what the role of the father truly is.
IF FATHERS HAVE A DISTINCT ROLE, WHY AREN'T CHILDREN WITHOUT FATHERS DIFFERENT?
- The study by Grossman found that fathers as secondary attachment figures ha an important role in their child's development
- However other stidues such as MacCallum and Golombook (2004) have found that children growing up in single or same-sex parent families do no develop any differently from two parent heterosexual families.
- This suggests that the father's role as a secondary attachment figure is not important
WHY DON'T FATHERS GENERALLY BECOME PRIMARY ATTACHMENTS?
- The fact that fathers tend not to become primary attachment figures could be due to traditional gender roles
- In which, women are expected to be more caring and nurturing than men.
- Therefore fathers may feel as though they don't have to act like that
- It could be that female hormones such as oestrogen create higher levels of nurturing adn therefore women are biologically pre-disposed to be the primary attachment figures
- Overall this suggests that the differences between men and women, whether they are based on stereotypes or physiology, explain why women tend to be primary attachment figures
THE RESEARCH IS SOCIALLY SENSITIVE
- Research into mother-infant interaction is socialay sensitive because it suggests that children may be disadvantaged by particular child-rearing practices
- In particular by mothers who return to work shourtly after a child is born restrict the opportunities for acheiving interactional synchrony which Isabella et al showed to be important in developing attachment
- This suggests mothers shouldn't return tp work so soon which has social implications as some mothers may feel pressure to adopt a certain lifestyle due to these findings
Schaffer and Emerson (1964)
To investigate the age at which infants become attached, who they become attached to and whether it is possible to develop multiple attachments
Schaffer and Emerson conducted a longitudinal study of 60 infants from Glasgow over the first 18 months of their lives
They visited the children monthly in their own homes and observed their interactions with their caregivers. In addition, their caregivers were interviewed about they infant's behaviour
Evidence for development of attachmanet was whether the baby showed separation anxiety after the carer left
Schaffer and Emerson (1964)
- Between 25-32 weeks of age, 50% showed signs of separation anxiety towards a specific adult
- Attachment tended to be towards the caregiver who was most interactive and sensitive to infant signals
- By 40 weeks, 80% had a specific attachment and 30% displayed multiple attachments
The results of the study indicated that attachments were most likely to form with those who responded accurately to the baby's signals, not the person they spent the most time with. Schaffer and Emerson called this 'sensitve responsiveness'.
They concluded thay they most important factor in attachment is not wh feeds and changes the child but instead who plays and communicates with them
The study also shows that a signifant number of infants form multiple attachments
GOOD EXTERNAL VALIDITY
- The study was carried out in families' own homes and most of the obervation was done by the parents during ordinary activities and reported to researchers later
- This means that they babies behaved naturally as it is unlikey to be affected by the presence of researchers
- Consequently, the study had good external validity
- The study was conducted longitudinally - this means that the same children were followed up and observed regularly
- A quicker alternative would have been the cross-sectional design (observing different children of different ages)
- However, longitudinal designs have a higher internal validity because they don't have the confounding variable of individual differences
- This is a strength because the design equates to a high validity of results
LIMITED SAMPLE CHARACTERISTICS
- The study had a sample size of 60 infants (and their carers) - this is good considering the large volume of data gathered on each participant
- However, as every family was from the same district, social class, city at the same time over fifty years ago, is a limitation
- Child-rearing practices vary across cultures and historical periods
- Consequently, these results don't necessarily generalise to other social and historical contexts
Schaffer's Stages of Attachment
Based on information they gathered on developing attachments, Schaffer and Emerson proposed that attachments develop in four stages
STAGE 1 - ASOCIAL STAGE
Ages 0-8 weeks. This is not realy an asocial stage as the baby recognises and forms bonds wit its carers. However, the baby's behaviour towards non-human objects and humans are quite similar. Babies show some preference for familiar adults in that those individuals find it easier to calm them. Babies are happier in the presence of other humans
STAGE 2 - INDISCRIMINATE ATTACHMENT
Ages 2-7 months. Babies develop more observable social behaviour. They show a preference for people rather than inaminate objects, and recognise and prefer familiar objects. At the stage babies usually accept comfort from any adult, and they do not usually show separtion anxiety or stranger anxiety. Their attachment behaviour is therefore said to be indiscriminate because it is not different to any one person.
Schaffer's Stages of Attachment
STAGE 3 - SPECIFIC ATTACHMENT
Ages 7-12 months. The majority of babies start to display anxiety towards strangers and become anxious when separated from one particular afault (biological mother in 65% of cases). At this point the baby is said to have formed a specific attachment. This adult is the primary attachment figure. This person is not necesssarily the person the child spendsd the most amount of time with but hte one who offers the most interaction and responds to the baby's signals
STAGE 2 - MULTIPLE ATTACHMENTS
Ages 1 year onwards. Shortly after babies develop a primary attachment they usually form secondary attachments with other adults who they regualarly spend time with. In Schaffer and Emerson's study, 29% of the children had secondary attachments within a month of forming a primary attachment. By the age of 1, the majority had developed multiple attachments
PROBLEM STUDYING THE ASOCIAL STAGE
- Schaffer and Emerson descirbe the first few weeks of life as the asocial stage
- Although important interactions take place during this stage, the problem here is that babies have have poor co-ordination and are generally immobile.
- Therefore it is difficult to make judgements based on observations as there isn't much observable behaviour
- This doesn't mean that the child's feelings and cognitions aren't highly social but the evidence cannot be relied upon
CONFLICTING EVIDENCE ON MULTIPLE ATTACHMENTS
- It is still not entirely clear when children can form multiple attachments
- Some research indicates that most if not all babies form attachments to a main carer before they can develop multiple attachments
- However other psychologists, particularly those who work in cultural contexts where multiple caregivers are the norm, believe babies form multiple attachments from the outset
- These cultures are called collectivist because damilies work together in everything - such as produing food and raising children
- This is a weakness as there is further evidence that cannot be explained by the theory
MEASURING MULTIPLE ATTACHMENT
- There may be a problem with assessing multiple attachment
- Just becuase a baby is distressed when an individual leaves it doesn't necessarily mean that the individual is a 'true' attachment figure
- Bowlby pointed out that childre have playmates as well as attachment figures and may get distressed when the playmate leaves the room, but this doesn't signify attachment
- This is a problem because their observation doesn't leave a way to distinguish between behaviour shwn towards attachment figures and playmates
LIMITED BEHAVIOURAL MEASURES OF ATTACHMENT
- Schaffer and Emerson used simple behaviours to measure attachment
- These behaviours were stranger anxiety and separation anxiety
- Some psychologists suggests this is a too 'crude' measure of attachment
- They only observed simple behaviours instead of observing a range of possible behaviour
- This is a limitation as attachment was only measured using simple behaviours meaning that possible attachments were 'missed' as this behaviour wasn't demonsttrated, but there was other behaviour to signify attachment
- Lorenz divided a clutch of goose eggs into two groups
- One was the 'incubator group' - they were hatched in an incubator and the firts moving thing they saw was Lorenz
- The other was the 'control group' - they hatched in natural conditions ad the first moving thing they saw was the mother
- The incubator group followed Lorenz everywhere whereas the control group followed the mother
- This was ture even when the groups were mixed
Lorenz - Imprinting
- Where a bird species that is mobile from birth attach and follow the first moving object they see.
- Lorenz identified a critical period in which imprinting needs to occur
- Depending on the species, this can be as breif as a few hours after birth
- If an attachment isnt formed during this period, Lorenz found that they would not form an attachment to a mother figure after this time
- Lorenz investigated the relationship between imprinting and adult mating behaviour
- He observed that birds that imprinted on humans would often display courtship towards humans
- Lorenz (1952) described a peacock that was reared in a reptile house in a zoo where the first moving object seen was a giant tortois
- As an adult, the peacock would only try to mate with giant tortoises
- Lorenz concluded the peacock had undergone sexual imprinting
GENERALISABILITY TO HUMANS
- There is a problem generalising these findings from birds to humans
- Mammalian attachment systems are different from those of birds
- They are more emotional and they are able to form attachments at any age, albeit with more difficulty when they are older
- This is a limitation as it is not appropriate to generalise these findings to humans
SOME OF LORENZ'S OBSERVATIONS HAVE BEEN QUESTIONED
- Evidence from other research contradicts Lorenz's findings on sexual imprinting
- Guitton et al found that chickens that imprinted on yellow washing up gloves would try to mate with them as adults
- However with experience they eventually learned to mate with other chickens
- This suggests imprinting doesn't have the permanent effect that Lorenz had concluded
- Tested the idea that a soft object serves some of the functions of a mother
- In one experiment he reared 16 baby monkeys with thwo wire model mothers - one dispensed milk whereas the other one was covered in a soft cloth
- Baby monkeys preferred the soft model mother compared to the one that dispensed milk
- They sought comfort from the soft model when frightened
Harlow - continued
MATERNALLY DEPRIVED MONKEYS AS ADULTS
- The researchers found severe consequences of maternal deprivation
- The monkeys reared only by the wire model were the most dysfunctional - however monkeys reared by the soft model did not develop normal social behaviour either
- They were agressive and less social, bred less often, were hostile towards their children, neglected them or even killed them
- Harlow also identified a critical period
- A mother figure had to be introduced within 90 days for an attachment to form
- After this critical period, it was impossible to form an attachment
- Harlow faced severe criticism for the ethics of this research
- The monkeys suffered greatly as a result of the studies
- The species is considered similar enough for the results to be generalised to humans so it can be assumed that their suffering was rather human-like
- This brings the question - does the findings of the study and the benefits of them outweigh the suffering of the monkeys?
- Harlow's findings have had a signifcant impact on psychologists' understanding of attachment
- Most importantly, the findings showed that attachments do not form by being fed but instead over comfort
- It also demonstrates the importance of early attachments in later life, for social development and ability to hold down adult relationships
- This is a strength as the findings highlight the importance of early attachments as well as show why attachments form
- The findings have significant practical value
- It has helped social workers understand risk factors in child neglect and abuse and so to intervene to prevent it
- It is also important for the care of captive monkeys - the importance of having attachment firgures have been highlighted
- This is a strength as they study has a range of practical benefits
The Learning Theory - Classical Conditioning
- Learning by assosciation
- Food is an unconditioned stimulus - being fed gives pleasure, which is an uncondtioned response
- Caregiver is a neutral stimulus = produces a neutral response
- When the same caregiver gives them food over time they become assosciated with food
- Neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus
- Caregiver produces a conditioned response
- Classical conditioning suggests this as an explnation for attachment
The Learning Theory - Operant Conditioning
- Learning through reinforcement/consequences
- If behaviour has a pleasant consequence, it is likely to be repeated - behaviour has been reinforced
- If behaviour has an unpleasant consequence, it is unlikely to be repeated
- Operant conditioning could explain why babies cry for comfort - crying leads to a response from the caregiver. As long as the caregiver give the correct response, crying is reinforced
- The baby directs crying for comfort towards the caregiver who responds with comforting 'social supressor' behaviour
- This reinforcement is a two-way porcess - at the same time as the baby's behaviur is reinforced for crying, the caregiver recieves a negative reinforcement because the crying stops - escaping from something unplesant.
- This interplay of mutual reinforcement strengthens attachment
The Learning Theory - Attachment as a Secondary Dr
- The learning theory also draws on the concept of drive reduction
- Hunger is the primary drive - it is an innate, biological motivator - we are motivated to eat to reduce the hunger drive
- Sears et al (1957) suggested that as caregivers provide food, the primary drive of hunger becomes generalised to them
- Consequently, attachment is a secondary drive learnt by assosciation between the caregivers and satisfaction of a primary drive
COUNTER-EVIDENCE FROM ANIMAL STUDIES
- A range of animal studes have demonstrated that animals don't necessarily attach to those who feed them
- Lorenz's geese imprinted before they were fed and maintained these attachments regardless of who fed them
- Harlow's mokeys attached to a soft wire model in preference to the one that fed them
- In both of these studies it is clear that attachment doesn't develop as a result of feeding
- The same could be true for humans
- Learning theorists themselves believed that non-human and human studies were equivalent
COUNTER-EVIDENCE FROM HUMAN RESEARCH
- Research on human infants also show that feeding doesn't appear to be an important factor is attachment
- In Schaffer and Emerson's stufy, many of the babies attached to their mother despite other carers feeding them the most
- These findings are a limitation as they show feeding is not the key element to attachment so there us no unconditoned stimulus or primary drive involved
LEARNING THEORY IGNORES OTHER FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH FORMING ATTACHMENTS
- Research into early attachments suggests the quality of attachment is associated with factors like developing reciprocity and interactional synchrony
- In addition, studies have shown that the best quality attachments are with sensitive carers that respond the infant signals appropriately
- It is hard to reconcile these findings with the learning theory
- If attachment was developed solely as a result of feeding, there would be no purpose for these complect interactions and there would be no effect of these interactions on attachment
SOME ELEMENTS OF CONDITIONING COULD BE INVOLVED
- It seems fairly certain that as a whole, the learning theory is not a good explanation for attachment
- However some aspects of human development are effected by conditioning
- The problem with the learning theory as an explanation for attachment is mostly the idea that feeding provides the unconditioned stimulus, reinforcement and primary drive.
- It is still credible the association between the caregiver and provisoin of comfort and social interaction is part of what builds the attachment
Bowlby's Monotropic Theory
- Bowlby rejected the learning theory as an explanation for attachment
- Instead he looked at Harlow and Lorenz's studies and proposed an evolutionary explanation
- He proposed that attachment is an innate system that gave a survival adavatage
- Imprinting and attachment evolved because they ensured young stayed close to their caregivers and this protects them from danger
- Bowlby's theory is described as monotropic because he placed great emphasis on a child's attachment to a particular caregiver, which he believed to be more important than others (the primary attachment figure)
- Bowlby believed that the more time spent with the primary attachment figure the better
He put forward two principles to clarify this:
- The law of continuity - states that the more constant and predictable the child's care, the better quality the attachment
- The law of accumulated separation - states the the effects of each separation from the primary caregiver add up - 'the safest dose is zero dose'
Social Releasers and The Critical Period
- Bowlby suggested that babies are born with innate 'cute' behaviours that encourage attention from adults
- He called these social releasers because their purpose is to activate the adult attachment system
- Bowlby recognised that attachment is a reciprocal process. Both caregiver and child gace an innate pre-dispostion to become attached and social releasers trigger that response in caregivers
- The interplay between infant and adult attachment systems gradually buildds the relationship between the infant and caregiver, beginning in the early weeks of life
- Bowlby proposed there is a critical period of around two years when the attachment system is active. Bowlby referred to this as more of a sensitive period. A child is maximally sensitive at the age of two but if an attachment isn't formed at this time, a child will find it more difficult to form an attachment later
Internal Working Model
- Bowlby proposed that a child forms a mental representation of their relationship with their primary caregiver. This is called the internal working model because it serves as a model for what relationships are like
- It therefore has a powerful effect on the nature of the child's future relationships
- A child who has a positive relationship with a loving, reliable caregiver will tend to form an expectation that all relationships are as loving and reliable, and they will bring these qualities to future relationships
- If a child has a negative relationship with a caregiver that involved poor treatment, the will tend to expect this poor treatment from others or treat others in that way.
- The internal working model affects the child's later ability to be a parent themselves. People tend to base their parenting behaviour on their own experiences. This explains why people with functioning families tend to have similiar functioning families themselves
MIXED EVIDENCE FOR MONOTROPY
- Bowlby believed that babies generally formed one attachment to their primary caregiver, and that this attachment was special and in some way different from other attachments. He also believed that only after this attachment was made, other attachment could form
- This is not supported by Schaffer and Emerson - they found that most babies did attach to one person first. However some also were able to form other attachments at the same time
- It is also unclear whether there is something special about the first attachment. Studies of attachment to mother and father show that attachment to the mother is more important in predicting later behaviour. However this could simply mean that attachment to the primary caregiver is just stronger than other attachments, not necessarily different in quality
SUPPORT FOR SOCIAL RELEASERS
- There is clear evidence to show that cute infant behaviours are intended to initiate social interaction and that doing so is important to the baby
- Brazleton et al observed mothers and babies during their interactions, reporting the existance of interactional synchrony. They then extended the study from an observation to an experiment. Primary attachment figures were told to ignore their babies signals - in Bowlby;s terms, to ignore their social releasers. The babies initially showed some distress but, when the attachment figures continued to ignore the baby some responded by curling up and laying motionless.
- The fact that the children reacted so strongly supports Bowlby's ideas about the significance of infant social behaviour in eliciting caregiving
SUPPORT FOR INTERNAL WORKING MODELS
- The idea of internal working models is testable because it predicts the patterns of attachment will be passed on from one generation to the next
- Bailey et al (2007) assessed 99 mothers with one-year-old babies on the quality of their attachments to their own mothers using a standard interview procedure. The researchers also assessed the attachment of the babies to the mothers by observation
- It was found that mothers who reported poor attachments to their moters were much more likely to have children classified as having poor attachments according to the observations.
- This supports the idea that an internal working model of attachment was being passed through generations
MONOTROPY IS A SOCIALLY SENSITIVE IDEA
- Monotropy is a controversial idea becuase it has implications for the lifestlye choices of mothers
- The law of accumulated separation states that having sibstantial time apart from a primary attachment figure risks poor quality attachment and will disadvantage the child in a range of ways.
- This places a huge burden on mothers, setting them up to take responsibility for anything that goes wrong in the child's life. It also pushes them into particular lifestyle choices like not returning to work when the baby is born
- This is a limitation as to an extent, it may cause more damage than good due to the subsequent pressures on mothers
Ainsworth's Strange Situation
A controlled observation conducted under controlled conditions with the use of a two-way mirror
- proximity seeking - staying close to the caregiver
- exploration - will explore the area but use the caregiver as a secure base
- stranger anxiety - cautious of the stranger
- separation anxiety - distressed when the caregiver leaves
- response on reunion - how the child reacts when the caregiver returns
What is being measured at each Stage?
Beggining - child and cg enter an unfamiliar room
The child is encouraged to explore = exploration & proximity seeking
A stranger comes in and tries to interact with the child = stranger anxiety & proximity seeking
The cg leaves the child and stranger together = separation anxiety
The cg returns and the stranger leaves = response on reunion
The cg leaves the child alone = separation anxiety
The stranger returns = stranger anxiety
The cg returns and is reunited with the child = response on reunion
- secure = explore happily but regularly go back to the caregiver
- insecure avoidant - explore freely and don't seek proximity
- insecure resistant = seek greater proximity so they explore less
- secure = moderate
- insecure avoidant = little
- insecure resistant = a lot
- secure = moderate
- insecure avoidant = little-none
- insecure resistant = a lot
RESPONSE ON REUNION
- secure = require and accept comforrt
- insecure aviodant - do not require comfort
- insecure resistant - resist comfort when reuinited, inconsable
ATTACHMENTS IN BRITISH TODDLERS
- secure = 60-75%, insecure aviodant = 20-25%, insecure resistant = 3%
SUPPORT FOR VALIDITY
- Attachment type as defined by the Strange Situation is strongly predictive of later development
- Babies assessed as secure typically go on to have better outcomes in many areas, such as sucess at school to healthy romantic relationships and friendships in adulthood
- Insecure resistant attachment is associated with the worst outcomes such as bullying (Kokkinos, 2007) and mental health problems (Ward et al, 2006)
- This is eivdence for validity of the concept becuase it can explain subsequent outcomes
- The Strange Sitaution shows good inter-rater validity - different observers watching the same children in the Strange Situation generally agree on what attachment to classify them with
- This may be because the Strange Situation occurs under controlled conditions and because the behvioural catagories are easy to observe
- Beck et al (2012) looked at inter-rater reliabilty in a team of trained Strange Situation observers and found a 94% agreement on attachment types
- This means that we can be confident that the attachment type of an infant identified in the Strange Situation does not depend on who is observing them
THE TEST MAY BE CULTURE BOUND
- There is some doubt about whether the Strange Situation is a culture-bound test - i.e. it doesn't have the same meaning in countries outside Western Europe and the USA
- Firstly, cultural differences in childhood are likely to cause different responses
- Secondly, caregivers from different cultures behave differenltly in the Strange Situation
- Takahashi (1990) noted tha tthe test does not really work in Japan because Japanese mothers are so rarely separated from their children that they demonstrate higher levels of separation anxiety. Also in the reunion stage, Japanese mothers rushed to their children and 'scooped them up' so the child's behaviour was hard to observe
- Consequently it could be inferred that the test lacks validity outside of Western cultures
THERE IS AT LEAST ONE MORE ATTACHMENT TYPE
- The Strange Situation observed and identified three attachment types - secure, insecure avoidant and insecure resistant
- However Main and Soloman (1986) noted that a minority of children display atypical attachments that do not fall within type A, B or C behaviour
- This atypical attachment type is commonly reffered to as dishinibited attachment
- Disorganised children display a combination of resistant and avoidant behaviours
- This is a limitation as the conclusions of Ainsworth's study may not be an accurate reflection of attachment as children with disinhibited attachments would have been attributed with the incorrect attachment type, consequently causing inaccuracies in results
Bowlby's Theory of Maternal Deprivation
SEPARATION AND DEPRIVATION
Separation simply means that he child is not in the presense of a primary attachmen figure.
Extended separation can lead to deprivation - which by definition cause harm
Separation becomes an issue for development if the child is deprived (i.e. they lose an element of their care).
Brief separations, particularly when the child is with a subsitute caregiver are not significant fpr develpmentm however deprivation is
Bowlby's Theory of Maternal Deprivation (2)
THE CRITICAL PERIOD
A critical period is the time in which it is easiest for a child to form an attachment
Bowlby saw the first 30 months of the child's life as the critical period
If a child is separated from their mother and is in the absense of suitable care, the deprivation of the emotion care for an extended period during this critical period then Bowlby believed that psychological damage was inevitable
Bowlby's Theory of Maternal Deprivation (3)
EFFECTS ON INTELECTUAL DEVELOPMENT
Bowlby believed that if children were deprived of maternal care for too long during the critical period, they would suffer from intellectual disability, characterised by an abnormally low IQ
Goldfarb (1947) found lower IQ in children who had remained in institutions as opposed to children who were fostered and thus had higher standards of emotional care
- fostered children - IQ of 96 av.
- instituitonalised children - IQ of 68 av.
Bowlby's Theory of Maternal Deprivation (4)
EFFECTS ON EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Bowlby identified affectionless psychopathology as the inability to experience guilt or strong emotions
This prevents them from developing normal relationships and is associated with criminality
Affectionless psychopaths cannot appreciate the feelings of victims and so lack remorse for their actions
Bowlby - The 44 Juvenile Thieves
AIM - to investigate the effect of long term separation
PROCEDURE - case sutufeis were completed on the background of 44 adolsecents who had been reffered to the clinic where Bowlby worked becuase they had been stealing. They were compared to a control group of 'emotionly disturbed' adolescents who didn't steal
RESULTS - 17 of the thieves had experienced frequent separations from their mothers before the age of 2, compared with 2 from the control group. 14 of the theives were diagnoses as affectless psychopaths. 12 of these had experienced separation from their mothers
CONCLUSIONS - long term separation of the child from the main carer early in life can have harmful long term consequences
THE EVIDENCE MAY BE POOR
- Bowlby drew on a nuber of sources of evidence for maternal deprivation including studies of children orphaned during WW2, those growing up in poor quality orphanages and his 44 thieves studies
- However they are flawed as evidence - war-orphans were traumatised and often had poor after-care, therefore these factors may have been the cause of later developmental difficulties rather than separation. Similarly, those growing up from birth in poor quality institutions were deprived of many aspects of care, not just maternal care.
- Furthermore his 44 theives study had some design flaws, mos timportantly bias - Bowlby himself carried out the assessments for affectionless psychopathology and the family interviews, knowing what he hoped to find.
- Consequently, the questionable results decrease the validity of the theory
- Not all research supports Bowlby's theory
- Hilda Lewis (1954) partially replicated the 44 theives study on a larger scale, looking at 500 young people. In her sample a history of early prolonged separation from the mother did not predict the criminality or difficulty forming close relationships
- This is a problem for the theory of maternal deprivation because it suggests that other factors may affect the outcome of early maternal deprivation
THE CRITICAL PERIOD IS MORE OF A SENSITIVE PERIOD
- Bowlby used the term 'critical period' because he believed that prolonged separation inevitably caused damage if it took place within that period.
- However, later research has shown that damage is not inevitable
- Some cases of severe deprivation have goof outcomes provided that the child has some social interaction and good after care
- Jarmila Koluchova (1976) reported the case of twin boys from Czechoslavakia who were isolated from 18 months to seven years old as their step-mother locked them in a cupboard
- Subsequently, they were lloked after by two loving adults and appeared to recover fully.
- Cases like this one suggest that the critical period identified by Bowlby may be 'sensitive' instead of critical
ANIMAL STUDIES SHOW EFFECTS OF MATERNAL DEPRIVATION
- Although many psychologists are very critical of the theory of maternal deprivation, and interesting line of research have provided some support for the idea of maternal deprivation
- Levy et al (2003) showed that separating baby rats from the mother for as little as a day had a permanent effect in their social development, although it didn't impact other aspects of development
- This provides support for the theory to an extent, as there is a great question as to whether animal studies can be generalised to humans.
Attachment and Later Relationships
INTERNAL WORKING MODEL
- the first relationship with the primary caregiver gives a mental representation of future relationships
- a child with loving experiences will bring this to later relationships, similiarly this is also ture for bad relationships
RELATIONSHIPS IN LATER CHILDHOOD
- attachment types are associated with the quality of peer relationships
- securely attached infants tend to form the best quality childhood friendships whereas insecurely attached later have friendship issues
- Myron-Wilson and Smith assessed attachment types and bullying involvement using a questionnaire in 196 children aged 7-11 y/o in London
- Secure children were unlikely to be involved in bullying. Insecure aviodant were most likely to be victims are insecure resistant children were most likely to be bullies
Attachment and Later Relationships (2)
RELATIONSHIPS IN ADULTHOOD WITH ROMANTIC PARTNERS
- Gerard McCarthy studied 40 women who had been assessed as infants to ascertain their early attachment types
- those assessed as securely attached had the best adult friendships and romantic relationships
- adults classed as insecure-resistant had particular problems maintaining friendships
- those classed as insecure avoidant struggled with intimacy in romantic relationships
RELATIONSHIPS IN ADULTHOOD AS A PARENT
- internal working modes also affect the child's ability to parent their own children
- people tend to base their parenting style on their internal working model so attachment types tend to be passed through generations
- Bailey et al (2007) studied 99 mothers' attachments to their children and attachment to their own mother. The majority displayed the same attachment type towards their children to that with their own mother
Attachment and Later Relationships (3)
HAZAN AND SHAVER
Hazan and Shaver (1987) conducted a classic stuudy of the association between attachment and adult relationships.
PROCEDURE - they analysed 620 replies to a 'love quiz' printen in an American local newspaper. The quiz had three section - the first assessed respondants' current or most important relationship, the second assessed general love experiences and the third assessed atachment type.
FINDINGS - 56% identified as securely attached, 25% insecure-avoidant and 19% insecure-resistant. Those reporting secure attachments wre the most likely to have good and long lasting relationships. The avoidant respondants tended to reveal jealousy and a fear of intimacy. These findings suggests that patterns of attachment behavour are reflected in romantic relationships
EVIDENCE ON CONTINUITY OF ATTACHMENT TYPES IS MIXED
- Internal working models predict continuity between the security of an infant's attachment and that of their later relationships
- evidence for this continuity is mixed
- McCarthy's study appears to support the continuity of attachment types
- Zimmerman (2000) assessed infant attachment type and adolescent attachment to parents. There was very little relationship between the quality of infant and adolscent attachment
- This is a problem because it it not an expected finding if internal working models were important in development
MOST STUDIES HAVE ISSUES OF VALIDITY
- Most studies of attachment to primary attachment figures don't make use of the Strange Situation but assess attachment using questionnaire/interview methods, not in infancy but years later
- This creates validity problems
- First, assessment relies on elf-report techiques - the validity of these methods is limited because they depend on having an acurrate and honest view of their relationships
- Secondly, another problem concerns the retrospective nature of assessment of infant attachment - looking back in adulthood on early relationships to a primary attachment figure probably lacks validty becuase it relies on accurate recollections
- Overall, this is a limitation becuse the lack of validity questions the accuracy of the findings
ASSOCIATION DOES NOT MEAN CAUSALITY
- In the studies where infant attachment type is associated with teh quality of later realtionships, there is an implication as to whether the infant attachment type causes the later attachment
- However, there are alternative explanations for the continuity that often exists between infant attachment and later relationships
- A third environmental factor such as parenting stlye may have a direct impact on both attachments and ability to form relationships later
- Alternatively the child's temperment may influenece both infant attachment and the quality of later relationships
- This is a limitation becuase it is counter to Bowlby's view that the internal working model causes these later relationships
THE INFLUENCE OF EARLY ATTACHMENT IS PROBABLISTIC
- It does seem very likely that the quality of infant attachmeny has an influence on later relationships
- However, some attachment researchers, inlvuding Bowlby, have probably exagerated the significance of this influence
- Clark and Clarke (1998) describe the influence of infant attachment on future relationships as probabalistic.
- People are not 'doomed' to always have bad relationships because of a poor attachment, they just have a greater risk of problems
- There is a further risk by emphasising thiss risk as we become too pessimistic about people's futures
- Consequently the research may be potentially damaging as the huge emphasis on the seemingly 'never-ending cycle' of negative relationships, however it does bring the question as to whether despite the risks, the studies are useful as they demonstarte the possible outcomes.