Attachment Stages


Schaffer & Emerson

Schaffer & Emerson:

* 60 Babies were observed from their homes in Glasgow every 4 weeks from birth to about 18 months.

Interviews were also conducted on the family.

Staffers stages of attachment formed. *

At 8 months, 50 of infants had more than one attachment

20 of the children had no attachment with their mother or had a stronger attachment with someone else, even though the mother was the main caregiver

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Conclusion of Schaffer & Emerson

Infants form attachments in stages, and can eventually attach to many people.

Quality of care is important in forming attachments, so infants may not attach to their mother if people respond more accurately to its signals

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Evaluation of Schaffer & Emerson

1. Schaffer & Emerson used a limited sample size of 60 babies. The babies also all came from Glasgow, so from the same district. This is a limitation as child rearing practice varies from culture to culture so the findings cant be generalised to the wider population.

2. This study was a longitudinal study, so the same children were followed & Observed meaning the study has a better internal validity because confounding variables of individual differences between participants are limited.

3. The study has good external validity as Schaffer & Emerson carried out the study in the family's home and most of the observation was carried out by parents. This means that the behaviour of the babies is unlikely to be affected by the prescence of others. So the behaviour is natural, meaning we can say the study has good external validity.

4. Lot of evidence to support Schaffer & Emerson's results, and the types of attachment formarions.

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Explanation of Attachment - Learning Theory

* The learning theory is also known as the behaviourist theory, and uses classical and operant conditioning as an explanation for how an attachment forms.

* This approach is sometimes referred to as cupboard love. (Children learns to love whoever will feed them.

* Classical Conditioning involves learning through associations. Learning to associate two stinuli together

* Food serves as an (Uconditioned Stimilis). Food naturally gives pleasure (Unconditioned Response)

 Caregiver starts as the neutral stimulus

 When the same person provides food over time they become associated with food, a baby's desire for food is fullfilled when the mother feeds it. So the neutral stimulus becomes conditioned stimulus

* An association has now formed betwen the mother and food, so whenever the mother is around the baby will feel pleasure (Pleasure). So an attachment has formed!!!

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Explanation of Attachment - Learning Theory

 * Operant Conditioning involves learning through the consequences of your actions. If a behaviour produces a plesant response its likely to be repeated, compared to an unplesasant response

* Operant Conditioning explains why babies cry for comfort

* When babies are hungry they feel unsettled, and have a desire to remove the discomfort. If a baby cry's a mother will feed them, so the discomfort is removed (Negative Reinforcement).

* Reinforcement is a two-way process. While the baby is reinforced to cry, the caregiver recieves negative reinforcement because the crying stops.

* Mother is therefire reinforced with food and comfort, and the baby wants to be near her, so an attachment has formed

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Evaluation of the learning theory:

* Animal Studies have shown that young animals do not attach/imprint to those who feed them. Lorenz's geese imprinted before they were fed, and maintained these attachments regardless of who fed them. Harlows monkeys attached to the soft surrogate who didnt provide food, which is a limitation of the learning theory. A lot of the research has arose from animal research so the findings cant be gerneralised to human behaviour

* The learning theory is reductionistic, it tries to explain complex attachment, using simple processes. The theory ignores other factors associated with forming attachment such as caregiver infant interactions, like reciprocity and interactional synchrony. Studies have also shown that best quality attachment are with sensitive carers that respond to the baby's needs.

* Schaffer & Emerson's findings dont support the Learning Theory as many baby's attached to their biological mother even though other carers did the feeding. Furthermore half of the infants did not attach to their mother for the attachemnt figure.

* A strength however is that the learning theory has a lot of support from scientific reaearch, with good controls etc

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Explanation of Attachment : Bowlby's Theory

*Bowlby looked at the work of Lorenz & Harlow and argued that something like imprinting occurs in Humans he claimed.... 1. An attachment can be explained by evolution. We have developed a biological need to attach to our main caregiver through natural selection, so young animals/babies stay closw to their caregivers for protection and survival value.

2. Only create one specific attachment (Monotropic). Bowlby stated we only form one main attachment which is usually to our biological mothers, this attachment is different and more important, this also has a surival value and provides a safe base giving us confidence to explore.

3. Critical Period - Bowlby suggested that social releasers such as smiling, gripping start to develop the attachment and both the mother and caregiver weakness to become attached to each other. But there is a critical period for attachment, the first three years of your life is the critical period, if an attachment doesnt form or is broken, it can have serious damage to a childs social and emotional development, or long term consequences.

4. Internal Working Model - a child forms a mental representation of their relationship with their caregiver, which serves as a template for what relationships are. Childs 1st relationship who is loving will form an expectation that all relationships are loving and reliable, and they will bring these qualities to future relationships, the IWM affects a childs ability to parent themselves. 

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Evaluation of Bowlbys Theory

1. There are some evidence for Bowlbys claims. Harlow supports the idea that we have evolved a need to attach, it also suggests that social and emotional development might be damaged, if an attachment isnt formed.

2. However, Bowlby believes babies generally form one attachment to their primary caregiver, and this attachment was special. But Schaffer & Emerson provided evidence agaist this claim they found rather than one main attachment, many children developed multiple attachments, and some may not attach to their mother (32% had at least 5 attachments after 18 months)

3. There is evidence to supprort to internal working mode. Bailey et al found that mothers who reported as having poor attachments to their own parents were much more likely to have children classified as poor attachments. (Disfunctional children from disfunctional family's tend to have similar familys themselves).

4. Harlows study of monkeys were raised in isolation also goes against the idea of monotropy, monkeys who didnt have a mother but grew up together didnt show social and emotional disturbance, no primary giver was provided they just attached to each other.

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Types of Attachment

Ainsworth et al, identified three main types of attachment

1. Secure Attachment (Type B) = For secure attachment there is a strong bond between the child and its caregiver, these children explore happily but regularly go back to the caregiver. If the child become separated from caregiver the infant becomes distressed, but when reunited the child is easily comforted by the caregiver. 60-75% of British babies are classified as Secure

2. Insecure Avoidnat (Type A) = These children explore freely but do not go back to the caregiver. They dont become distressed when separated from caregiver, and make little effort when the caregiver returns. 20-25% of babies are classified as Insecure-Avoidant

3. Insecure Resistant (Type C) = These children are often uneasy around their caregiver, and explore less, but becomes upset if they are separated, but resist comfort when reunited with their caregiver. 3% of babies are classified as insecure resistant

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Ainsworth Strange Situation

* Ainsowrth's Strange Situation is a controlled observation designed to measure the security of attachment a child displays towards a caregiver.

* It takes place in a room with a two-way mirror.

The procedure has 7 episodes and behaviours judged include 'Proximity Seeking' 'Stranger Anxiety etc'.

A 12-18 month old infant was left in a room with their mother. Eight different scenarios occured and the infants reactions were constantly observed.

* 15% of infants were insecure avoidnat, 70% were secure attachments, and 15% were insecure avoindant.

* The concluison made was that infants show different reactions to their careres with different types of attachment.

*(Child & Caregiver enter a unfamiliar playroom), (Child Encouraged to explore),(Stranger comes in & tries to interact) (Caregiver leaves) (Caregiver Returns, Stranger leaves) (Caregiver leaves, stranger returns, caregiver returns and is reunited with child)

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Evaluation of Ainsworths Study

* Ainsworths Study has good inter-rater reliability, different observers watching the same children, generally agree on what attachment type to classify them with. Bick et al looked at inter-rater reliability and found observers agreed on attachment type 94% of the time.

Cultural differences in childhood are likely to mean that children respond differently to the strange situation. Takahashi - noted the test doesnt work in Japan because Japanese mothers are rarely separated from their children so they would experience higher levels of separation anxiety making the results invalid.

Lab experiment - less artificial reducing EV

* Parents may behave differently becayse they know they are being observed which could have en effect on the childs behaviour so the study may not represent their behaviour in real life.

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Evaluation of Ainsworths Study

* Ainsworths Study has good inter-rater reliability, different observers watching the same children, generally agree on what attachment type to classify them with. Bick et al looked at inter-rater reliability and found observers agreed on attachment type 94% of the time.

Cultural differences in childhood are likely to mean that children respond differently to the strange situation. Takahashi - noted the test doesnt work in Japan because Japanese mothers are rarely separated from their children so they would experience higher levels of separation anxiety making the results invalid.

Lab experiment - less artificial reducing EV

* Parents may behave differently becayse they know they are being observed which could have en effect on the childs behaviour so the study may not represent their behaviour in real life.

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Van IJzendoorn & Kroonenberg

* Van IJzendoorn conducted a study to look at the proportions of secure, insecure-avoidant, insecure-resistant across a range of countries

* They carried a meta-analysis of 32 studies in different countries, to analyse any overall pattern.

* The 32 studies were conducted in 8 countries, 15 were in the USA

* Percentage of children classified as secure or insecure were similar across the countries tested, more differences were found within the actual countries.

* Secure Attachment was most common in the countries studied.

* Western cultures, dominant type of insecure attachment was avoidant, highest proportion coming from Germany

* Non-Western cultures, dominant type was insecure resistant, highest proportion coming from Japan

* There are cross-cultural similarities in raising children, with common reactions to the strange situation.

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Evaluation of Van IJzendoorn

* A strength of combining results of attachment studies is that you get a very large sample, in Van IJzendoorn there was a sample of nearly 2000 babies. This is a strength because large samples increase internal validity by reducing the impact of anomalous results

* The study, claimed to study cultural variation where as comparisons were made between countries not cultures. Within any country there are many different cultures each with different child-rearing practices, so the results found have little meaning for the cultural variations.

* The strange situation experiment doesnt show characteristics of the child, the experiment only shows the child's relationship with a specific person, so they might react differently with different careres later in life.

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Bowlby's Theory of Maternal Deprivation

1. Separation is where a child is away from a caregiver they are attached too. This may be for hours or days. Deprivation describes the loss of something that is wanted or needed.

3. The first three years of a child life is the critical period, if a child is deprieved from the main carer during the critical period, this will have harmful effects on a child's emotional, social and intellectual development.

4. Effects on Development include, 'Intellectual Development' & 'Emotional Development'

5. Intellectual Development: One way in which maternal deprivation affects childhood developement is their intellectual development. Bowlby believed that if children were deprieved of maternal care for too long during the critical period, they would suffer from mental retardation. 

6. Emotional Development: Second way in being deprieved of a mother figure, bowlby identified affectional psychopath where a person doesnt care about their actions affected others, and lack geunine remorse for their actions. 

Future relationships may be affected by this emotional insecurity, this was shown in the case of the 44 Juvenile Thieves

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44 Juvenile Thieves

* This study examined the link between affectionless psychopath and maternal deprivation

* Sample consisted of 44 Criminal Teenagers accused of stealing

* All thieves were interviewed for signs of affectionless psychopaths, characterised by lack of affection, guilt, and lack of empathy.

* Familys were also interviewed whether or not the theievs suffered from prolonged separation from their mothers.

* A control group of non-criminals but emotionally disturbed people who didnt steal was used. 

* 17 out of the thieves had experienced frequent separation from their mothers before the age of 2, compared to 2 in control group.

* 14 of thieves were diagnosed as affectionless psychopaths, 12 of these had experienced separation.

* Deprivation from its main caregiver in early life, can have very harmful long term consequences.

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Evaluation of Maternal Deprivation

* Bowlby stated that if an attachment is not formed within the critical period, then the child will suffer from long term consequences, affecting emotional and intellectual development. However, later reseach has shown that the effects of deprivation can be reversed. This was shown in the case of the Czech Twin Boys (Koluchova) 

The 18 month boys were locked in a cupboard till they were 7 years old. When they were looked after by two loving adults, they fully recovered, so the critical period isnt critical.

* The 44 Juvenile thieves has major flaws, Bowlby carried out the assessment himself therefore the study suffers from observer bias, and he may of manipulated the research to support his findings.

* A strength of his findings is that there is research support to support Bowlbys claims, (GolfFarb) found that orphanage children who were socially and maternally debrieved were less intellegant and socially underdeveloped.

* However, Bowlby linked the thieves behaviour to maternal deprivation, but other things were not considered e.g. poverty which resulted in them stealing, he made an inference

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Romanian Orphan Studies - Effects of Institutional

* Former precident of Romania, ordered women to have 5 children, the romanian parents would not afford to keep the children so the chidren ended up in mass orphanages in poor conditions

Later on many of the children were adopted by british parents

Privation is where a child never formed an attachment to their mother/ and Deprivation is where an attachment was once formed but is now broken.

* Case Example for Privation is Genie: discovered at the age of 13, very physically underdveloped and could only make animal noises, her language, social and intellectual skills never seemed to fully develop

* Studies on Romanian Orphanes looked at the direct impact of privation.

* The fall on the communist regime allowed the worls to see the vast overcrowding in orphanages.

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* 111 Romanian Orphanes who were adopted by Britsih Familys, were compared with a group of 52 UK children who were adopted.

* Orphanes were adoped before the age of 6 months, and some older than the age of 6 months

* Each child was assessed at the age of 4,6, and 11.

Children adopted younger than 6 months, had the same level of emotional development as the UK children adopted at the same age

Romanian orphanes adopted older than 6 months showed signs of insecure attachment and social problems while the UK children older than 6 months didnt

* Effects of privation can be reversed if an attachment starts to form before the age of 6 months, long term effects are more permanent is an attachment doesnt start to occur within 6 months, but maternal deprivation on its own doesnt cause permanent effects shown in the adopted UK children older than 6 months, who showed no problems

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Evaluation of Effects of Institutionalisation

* Studying the Romanian Orphan has enhanced our understanding of the effects of institutionalisation. There is real-life application as results have now led to improvement in the way children are cared for in institutions, for example orphanages and children's home now avoid having large numbers of caregivers for each child, so that the child has a chancce of developing normal attachment.

* The study was longitudinal, which means it is easy to spot changes which have occured over time, as you study the same group of people over an extended period, and confounding variables such as participant differences are minimalised.

Collect Qualitative Data which is difficult to generalise and make conclusions from as it is hard to statistically analyse the data

There are ethical issues to take into account, when dealing with a psychological subject such as psycological harm, and due to the childewn having a reduced intelligence or of a low age, it is hard to get informed consent.

* Within Institutions, a lot of the children are unfed and malnourished and these factors need to be taken into account, as these factors may of influenced their behaviour to form an attachment.

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* An attachment is a strong emotional bond between an infant and their caregiver. Normally am attachement will be to their biological mother. The most common attahchment type is securely attached infants.

* There are many features of caregiver-infant interactions. Interaction care-give features are thought to be involved in developing an maintaining the attachment.

Interactional Sychrony = Infants react in time with the caregivers speech and emotion, resulting in a conversation dance. 

Reciprocity = Interaction flows back and forth between infant and caregiver, this is a description of how two people interact. 

* Motherese = The slow, high-pitched way of speaking to infants

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Stages in Attachment

1. Asocial

2. Indiscriminate

3. Specific

4. Multiple Attachment

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Explaining The Stages In Attachment

1. Asocial = During 0-3 months of life, the baby learns to separate people from objects but there are no strong preferences about who cares for it.

2. Indiscriminate = Between 6 weeks to 7 months the infant starts to distinguish and recognuse different people, smiling more at people it knows rather than strangers, but there are still no strong preferences

3. Single = From 7-11 months, the infant becomes able to form a strong attachment with an individual. They are happy when the person is around but become distressed when they leave. 

4. Multiple = From about 9 months, the infant can form an attachment to many different people. Some attachments may be stronger than others. Schaffer found that after 18 months approx 32% of babies had at least 5 attachments

Schaffer & Emerson provides Evidence for these attachment stages

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Different Types of Attachment Figures

1. Mother = mother was the primary caregive for half of infants

2. Father = Father was the role for 1/3 infants. The father has a different role in attachment more to do with play according to (Grossman). Fathers can take on the role of the main attachment figure though. (Ross et al) showed the number of nappies a father changed positively correlated with strength of attachment

3. Grandparents = the rest had the strongest attachment with grandparents

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Influence of early attachments on later relationsh

1. John Bowlby suggested that a child having their first relationship with their primary Attachment figure forms a mental representation of this relationship, this internal working model acts as a template for future relationships. A child who experiences a loving relationship will assume that this is how all relationships are like this. A child whos experience is bad wwill bring these qualities with them, and may struggle to form a relationship.

2. Attachment type is associated with quality of relationship in childhood. Securely attached will tend to go on to form best quality chilhood friendships where as insecure attached infants will have friendship difficulties. Insecure avoidant were most likely to be the victim and insecure resistant were most likely to be the bullies.

3. Hazan & Shaver developed a study to explore how early attachments can predict adult relationships. 

4. Internal working models also affect the childs ability to parent their own children. People tend to base their parenting style on their template of what a relationship should be. (Bailey et al)- majority of women had the same attachment classification both to their babies and their own mother 5. Cycle of Privation - studies suggest children experience privation go on to have difficulty caring for their own children, less caring parents

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Hazan & Shaver - love quiz

Hazan & Shaver conducted a love quiz in a local newspaper

The quiz had two parts

1. First part assessed the attachemt type of each person with their parens . 2. Second part involved questions about their current belief about romantic love.

* The first 620 responses were analysed

* Found that there was a correlation between the type of chilhood attachemnt and peoples views on romantic love.

* Secure children were more likely to have happy and trustworthy relationships

* Insecure avoindant ended up fearing intimacy 

* Insecure resistance children were more likely to be worried that they werent loved in their relationship. 

Hazan & Shaver concluded that their findings provided support for Bowlby's Internal Working Model - that early attachments do influence adults relationships

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Evaluation of Early Attachment On Later Relationsh

* Quiz relied on people thinking back to their childhood, which isnt always accurate.

* The study used a volunteer sample, so a certain type of person might be more likely to respond. 

* People may have answered untruthfully to show themselves in a better light.

 Use of Self-Report Techniques creates validity problems, as the respondents may not be honest about their views of their relationship.

·     The environmental factor such as parenting style might have an effect on attachment and child’s ability to form relationships.

·       Internal models are unconscious so we are not directly aware of their influence, so can’t measure it, we just make inferences which may be wrong 


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