Attachment study & stages


Schaffer & Emmerson (1964)

Aim: To test the formation of early attachments, the age that they develop, their emotional intensity & to whom they were directed​.

Method: Interviews & observations with mothers of 60 Glaswegian babies from birth to 18 months old. (Longitudinal study) 

Results: Between 25 – 32 weeks, most babies had a specific attachment & showed separation anxiety.  The attachment was usually to the most reciprocal parent & not the one they spent most time with. By 1 year old, most babies had multiple attachments​

Conclusion: There are four stages of attachment​.

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Stages of attachment

Asocial stage: first few weeks - infant recognizes and forms bond with carers though behave similarly to humans and inanimate objects.

Indiscriminate attachment: 2 - months - infant shows preference to humans and familiar adults but will accept comfort from anyone and doesn’t have separation anxiety.

Specific attachment: from 7 months - infant has formed a primary attachment figure (65% mothers) and has separation anxiety if away from them.

Multiple attachments: after 7 months - infant starts to form secondary attachments with other people they spend time with.

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