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Longitudunal studies

Longitundal studies are done over a long period of time. For the reason to observe long-term effects and make comparisions between the same individual at different ages.


Information can be gathered over a long period of time


Attrition: people can drop out and if so they may have certain characterics which is essential which would leave the remaining sample bias

Participants may become aware and their behave would be affected

Corhort effect: May not be able to generalise finidings as people are unique e.g. people who have experiences of the war

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Bowbly - 44 thieves

Aim: To test the maternal deprivation hypothesis , to see whether frequent early separations were associated with behavioural disorders

Procedure: P's were 88 children ages 5 to 16 who had been referred to the child guidance clinic where Bowlby worked. 44 were at the clinic becasue of stealing and Bowlby identified 16 of these as affectionless psychopaths. Remaining 44 had not commited any crimes but were emotionally maladjusted. Bowlby interview the children, their family and friends and was able to build up a record of their early experiences

Finidings: 80% of those diagnosed with affectionless pyschopaths had experienced early nd prolonged separtions from their mother. 17% of the other theives had experienced this. 4% of the control group had experienced this

Criticisms: Their behaviour could be due to other factors. Parents may not have accurately recalled early life - was collected retrospectively and may not be reliable. Children may have had good emotional care during their separation



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Robertson and Robertson - Study showing short term

Aim: To investigate shorrt term effects of deprivation by examining children in hospital. Study was in the 1940's when parents werent allowed to visit

Procedure: Examined children in hospital. looking at how well children coped with separation from their mother. Also made a set of upsetting films of these children

Finidings: Children were extremely distressed and on their return home were less attached, less affectionate and less happy than they had been before

Conclusion: Had major effects on the visiting hours. Supports Bowbly's theory of deprivation and the effects it will have on the child. Was an observational study so means high ecological validity

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Douglas (1975)

Studied 5000 children in a longitudinal study and found that children who had experienced more than a week in hospital or multiple hospitals stays under the age of four were more likely to have behavioural problems in adolesence and be poor readers

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Protest: The child express its emtional by behaviours such as crying, screaming, kicking or clinging to its mother

Despair: The child calms down, appears unreponsive and shows a lack of in terest of people in a physical environment

Detachment: The childs interaction with others increases but only superfically, and there is little interest in its mothers return

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Ainsworth and Bell - Individual differences in att

Aim: To produce a method of attachment by placing an infant in a situation of mild stress and novelty

Procedure: 100 middle class American infants and mothers. A controlled observation was developed. Involved observing the mother and infant in a set of activities.

Observers recorded: Separation anxiety, the infnats willingness to explore, stranger anxiety and reuinion behaviour

Findings: Classified into 3 groups: Securely attached - 66% of the infants, aviodant insecure - 22% of the infants, resistant insecure - 12% of the infants

Conclusions: Shows there are significant differences between infants which can be represented in 3 types. Is an association between mothers behaviour and infants attachment type

Evaluation: Restricted to middle class American infants so cannot make generalisations as the findings and conclusions are culturally baised

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Shaffer and Emerson - Stages of attchment

Asocial stage (first 6 weeks) - Any form of emotional behaviour isnt dirested at anyone in particular e.g. crying

Indiscriminate attachments (6 weeks - 7 months) - the infant is content with attention from different people

Specific attachments (7 - 11 months) - The infant not only forms attachments to others bu also forms one strong one

Multiple attachments (11 months +) - Other close attachments are formed e.g. grandparents, after the first main strong one

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The evolutionary perspective - Bowlby's theory

Infants are physically helpless and need adults to feed, care for, and protect them , they cannot survive without such assisstance. Therefore it is likely humans have evolved in way that infants are born with innate tendancy to form an attachment to increase their chance of survival. Since attachment is a reciprocal process it is likely that adults are innately programmed to become attached to their infants, otherwise they would not respond to them and attachment wouldnt develop.

Social releasers are important for the attachment to take place which are behaviours such as smiling, crying, cooing and simply looking appealing,

The continuity hypothesis - The special attachment figure relationship provides an infnat with an internal working model of relationships. Secure children develop a positive one and Insecure develop a negitive one.

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Bowlby's maternal deprivation hypothesis

Hypothesis focuses on the importance of a continuous relationship between a child and mother. Reationships that are discontinuous become unstable and less predictable, which disrupts the development of the relationship.

Critcal period

Doesnt have to be with the mother, could be formed with a mother substitute


Evidence to supoort it

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good work! :D

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