Attachment - Privation

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  • Created by: Holly
  • Created on: 30-04-15 15:49

Key Study - Hodges and Tizard


  • Followed 65 British chidren from birth to adolescence who had been placed in institutional care when they were younger than 4 months old and had not yet formed attachments.
  • The caretakers in the institution were forbidden from forming attachments with the children.


  • The children who were 'restored' to their families were less likely to have formed attachments with their mothers.
  • The adopted children were as closely attached to their parents as they were to 'normal' children in the control group.
  • All children who had been in an institution had problems with peers.
  • They were less likely to have friends and be liked, but were more likely to be bullies.


  • Early privation has a negative irreverisble effect on future relationships.
  • Supports Bowlby's sensitive period idea.
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Romanian Orphanages - Rutter et al


  • Studied a group of 100 Romanian orphans and assessed them when they were 4, 6, and 11.



  • Children who were adopted by British parents before they were 6 months had 'normal' development when compared to adopted children from the UK at the same age.
  • Many Romanian children who were adopted after 6 months showed disinhabited attachments and had problems with peers.



  • Long-term consequences may be less severe if children have the opportunity to form attachments.
  • When children do not form attachments the consequences are more severe.
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Attachment Disorder

"when some children experience disruptions of early attachments this affects their social and emotional development."

There are two kinds of attachment disorder:

reactive/inhibited - shy and withdrawn, unable to cope with social situations.

disinhibited - over-friendly and attention seeking.

Children with attachment disorder have:

no preffered attachment figure

an inability to interact and relate to others (this is evident before the age of 5)

experience of severe neglect of frequent change of caregiver

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Evaluation - Poor Parenting | Deprivation Dwarfism

Poor parenting:

  • Quinton et al
  • Compared 50 women who had grown up in institutions to 50 women who had grown up at home.
  • The women who had been in institutions had extreme difficulties acting as parents.
  • More of these women had children that had spent time in care compared to those who hadn't been institutionalised.

Deprivation dwarfism:

  • Gardner
  • Lack of emotional care is the cause of 'dwarfism'.
  • Case study of a malformed girl who wasn't nurtured by her mother. She was physically stunted when she was 8 months old.
  • Suggests that emotional disturbance may affect the production of hormones. This would explain the link between disruption of attachment and dwarfism.
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Evaluation - Factors, Rejection, Long-Term Effects

Only one factor:

  • One-third of the Romanian orphans recovered well so not all children are unable to recover from failing to form attachments during the sensitive period.
  • Privation alone cannot explain the negative outcomes.
  • Turner and Lloyd: it is more likely that damage only occurs when there are multiple factors (e.g. poor subsequent care or insecure attachment).

Privation or rejection?:

  • We cannot be sure that the children studied failed to form attachments.
  • Could be possible that later problems are caused by other factors such as feeling rejected.

Long-term effects

  • Cannot be sure to what extent the negative effects continued into adult life.
  • Romanian study: last assessment was at 11 years old.
  • Hodges and Tizard: not possible to get a large enough group of the children back
  • Could be that ex-institutional children need more time to mature and learn about relationships. They may be able to eventually recover if they have the right kind of care.
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