Attachment Studies

Basic outline of some Attachment studies including procedure, findings, conclusions, strengths and weaknesses

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  • Created on: 11-05-14 17:49

Schaffer and Emerson - Formation of Attachment

Procedure

- 60 babies in Glasgow
- Seperation anxiety and stranger distress behaviour measured via observation and interviews (triangulation)
- Observed in own home - mother asked to rate response to seperation and other everyday situations

Findings

- Seperation anxiety at 6-8 months indicates attachment
- Fear of strangers followed a month later
- After first attachment was formed, multiple attachments were formed with people they saw regularly
- First attachments:
 65% - mother
 3% - father
 27% joint attachment

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Schaffer and Emerson - Formation of Attachment

Conclusions

- Attachment behaviours develop in stages which are loosely linked to age - created stages...

* Asocial Stage (0-6 weeks) - baby has same response for people and objects
* Indiscriminate Attachment (6 weeks to 6 months) - sociable but nonspecific
* Specific Attachment (7 months+) - seperation anxiety and stranger distress
* Multiple Attachment (10/11 months+) - many attachments form

Strengths

- High eco validity - carried out in own home - natural behaviour - less stressful and more comfortable - familiar environment - less ethical issues - minimal psychological harm

Weaknesses

- Small sample size - hard to generalise - lacks population validity - Glasgow participants - hard to generalise - historical/era dependent - carried out in 1960s where women were house wives and men had jobs - times have changed

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Dollard and Miller - Operant Conditioning

Findings

- Hungry child feels uncomfortable which creates a drive to reduce this discomfort
- When fed, discomfort is reduced and a feeling of pleasure is produced = rewarding
- Food becomes primary reinforcer as it reinforces the behaviour to avoid discomfort and the person supplying the food is associated with avoiding discomfort (secondary reinforcer)

Conclusions

- Attachment occurs because child seeks the person who can supply the reward

Strengths

- Supports learning theory

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Harlow and Harlow - Comfort vs Food

Procedure

- 8 infant rhesus monkeys were reared in isolation and deprived of mothers until 8 months old
- In each cage there were 2 surrogate mothers, one made of wire who supplied milk, other made of cloth
- Measured time spent with each mother
- Checked to see if an attachment had been formed by putting a noisy mechanical toy in the cage to frighten the baby monkeys and see which mother they cling to

Findings

- Baby monkey spent a lot more time with cloth mother than wire mother
- Babies used cloth mother as safe base when frightened but only used wire mother for food

Conclusion

- Comfort is important in forming attachments than just food and rewards

Weaknesses

- Used monkeys - cannot generalise to humans - animal study

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Lorenz - Imprinting

Procedure

- Lorenz made sure he was the first moving object to be seen by new born geese

Findings

- They formed a rapid attachment to Lorenz - imprinting

Conclusion

- Critical period for attachments to be formed - 32 hours in geese, 2.5 years in humans
- Attachment behaviour is innate

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Tronick et al - Monotropy

Procedure

- Studied African tribe who live in extended family groups
- Infants looked after and breastfed by different women but sleep with mother at night

Findings

- At 6 months the infants still showed one primary attachment with mother

Conclusion

- Supports the idea that attachment and caregiving is universal and involve monotropy

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Hazan and Shaver - Continuity Hypothesis and IWM

(IWM = Internal working model)

Procedure

- Love quiz where people reported to the local paper experiences and feelings about romantic relationships and childhood relationships with parents
- 215 men and 415 women selected randomly from newspaper, 108 Uni students

Findings

- Strong relationship between childhood attachment type and adult attachment type
- Secure types expressed a belief in lasting love, thought they were lovable and found others trustworthy
- Avoidant types were doubtful of love, didn't believe it existed - didn't want relationships
- Ambivalent types - fell in love easy and rarely found true love - insecure in relationships

Conclusion

- Childhood attachments influence adulthood attachments

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Bowlby - Evolutionary Theory

- Innate - born with attachment behaviours

- Social releasers - behaviours that force reciprocal interaction

- Monotropy - single attachment to one person who is most important to baby

- Continuity Hypothesis - the Internal Working Model says first attachment provides a template for future relationships

- Sensitive Period - attachment formed within first 2.5 years

Strengths

- Continuity Hypothesis support from Hazen and Shaver
- Monotropy support from Tronick
- Innate support from Lorenz

Weaknesses

- Ignored multiple attachments - Schaffer and Emerson

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Ainsworth - Strange Situation

- 100 infants 12-18 months old were observed through cameras in a lab playroom
- Measured seperation anxiety on mother's departure and stranger distress when interaction with stranger occured - examined behaviour towards mother in strange environment

Procedure

1. Mother and infant enter room - mother sits on chair and reads - infant free to play with toys
2. After 3 mins, stranger enters
3. Stranger approaches infant, attempts to interact
4. Mother leaves - stranger attempts to comfort the baby
5. After 3 mins, mother returns and stranger leaves
6. After 3 mins, mother leaves so baby is alone
7. Stranger enters and offers comfort
8. Mother returns and stranger leaves

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Ainsworth - Strange Situation

Findings

- 3 broad types of attachment behaviour in infants:

* Secure infants (type B) - seperation anxiety when mother leaves, stranger offers comfort, on joy on reunion baby is happy (70%)

Insecure avoidant (type A) - no seperation anxiety, no stranger distress, on reunion baby shows no interest (15%)

Insecure ambivalent/resistant (type C) - seperation anxiety intense, distress shown, avoids stranger - seeking comfort from mother to wanting distance (15%)

Strengths

- High control - lab - EVs minimised - establish cause and effect - replicatable - mundane realism

Weaknesses

- Lacks validity - artificial and unfamiliar nature of playroom - results subjective

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De Wolf and Ijzendoorn - Parental Sensitivity

- Meta-analysis

Findings

- Positive correlation between sensitivity and attachment

Conclusion

- Mothers who are less sensitive or responsive to babies are likely to have insecure attached infants
- Mothers who are sensitive to infant's needs are likely to produce secure attachments with child

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Thomas and Chess - Temperament

3 types of temperament:

- easy

- slow to warm up

- difficult

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Fox - Temperament

- Strong relationship between the attachment types of a child to both parents

- Attachments are related to inbuilt temperaments

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Ijzendoorn - Cultural Variations in Attachments

Procedure

- Meta analysis of 32 seperate case studies carried out in 8 different countries using Ainsworth's Strange Situation
- 2000 babies were studied
- In each study, babies were classified as Type A, B or C

Findings

- Secure attachments were most common in all cultures with lowest proportion 50% in China and highest at 75% in UK
- Avoidant attachment most common in West Germany and rare in Israel and Japan
- Ambivalent attachment most common in Israel, China and Japan but rare in Scandinavian countries like Sweden
- 3 studies within Germany showed very different findings and 2 Japanese studies varied where one had no type A and the other had 20%

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Ijzendoorn - Cultural Variations in Attachments

Conclusion

- Intra cultural variations (within cultures) was 1.5 times the cross cultural variations (between cultures)
-
It is an oversimplification to assume all children are brought up in the same way in a particular culture or country

Strengths

- Large sample size - representative of true population - population validity - can generalise results

Weaknesses

- Method is culture specific - developed in USA - invalid

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Schaffer and Callender - Seperation & Age

Procedure

- 76 babies aged between 3 and 51 weeks who were admitted to a children's hospital

Findings

- Children younger than 7 months showed minimal upset, adjusted to hospital well and weren't clingy
- Between 7 months and 18 months, strength of response was larger due to language skills and ability to understand that attachment figure will return

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Koluchova - Privation - Czech Twins

Procedure

- Case study of Czech twins whose mother died after giving birth
- Twins went to children's home for 11 months, 6 months with aunt and stayed with father (low intelligence) and stepmother (cruel) at 18 months
- Father& stepmother never let twins out of house - left in small unheated closet - found age 7

Findings

- Twins could hardly walk, had rickets, were fearful and had poor speech
- After hospital and foster home placement, twins formed strong bond with adopted parents

Conclusion

- With good & loving care, recovery from privation is possible - taking into account age

Strengths

- Valuable info on effects of privation on childrens development

Weaknesses

- Single study = hard to generalise - not representative to population - lack of informed consent

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Curtiss - Privation - Genie

Procedure

- Case study of Genie who was found at age 13
- Isolated, neglected, abused, physically restrained - couldn't walk, talk - malnourished

Findings

- Never achieved good social adjustment or language skills despite being fostered

Conclusion

- Recovery can not always happen after privation - due to length of privation or age found

Strengths

- Provides valuable info about effects of privation

Weaknesses

- Case study - one case - cannot generalise - lack of informed consent

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Robertson - Short term effects of Seperation - PDD

Procedure

- Natural observations of various infants who were seperated from their attachment figure during hospitalisation
- Case study of John (17mths) placed in residential nursery for 9 days whilst mum at hospital
- At the time of the study only 25% hospitals allowed daily visiting and 12% prohibited visitors

Findings

- Child response to seperation: Protest (secure attachment), Despair, Detachment (insecure avoidant attachment)

Strengths

- Natural experiment - observations free from investigator effects & demand characteristics - high ecological validity
- Lead to change in instiutional care for children visiting hours to increase

Weaknesses

- Few case studies - small sample - hard to generalise - lacks validity

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Robertson - Long term effects of Seperation

DEPRIVATION

Procedure

- Observations of infants who were seperated from attachment figure for long time

Findings

- Extreme clinginess when parent leaves
- Child detached from caregiver - refuses comfort (insecure avoidant attachment)
- Alternate between clinginess and detachment - unpredictable behaviour (insecure ambivalent)

Strengths

- Natural experiment - free from investigator effects and demand characteristics - high ecological validity

Weaknesses

- Few case studies - hard to generalise - lack population validity - small sample

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Bowlby - Maternal Deprivation

Procedure

- Interviewed a group of 44 juvenile theives of which 16 were affectionless psychopaths
- Compared to 44 children who had not committed crimes but had emotional difficulties

Findings

- 86% of affectionless psychopaths had prolonged periods of seperation
- 17% of theives had experienced seperation
- 4% of non-theives had experiences of seperation

Conclusion

- Correlation between maternal deprivation and emotional/behavioural disorders leading to anti-social behaviour
- Supports maternal deprivation hypothesis

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Tizard and Hodges - Privation

Procedure

- 65 children brought up in a childrens home from 1 week old
- No attachments - didn't form any with carers due to constant staff changes (24 carers by age 2, 50 by age 4)
- Had good physical and intellectual care
- At age 4, 25 children restored to parents, 33 adopted, rest remained in care => assessed at 8
- At age 16, children did interview and teacher and peers completed questionnaires

Findings

- At age 2, there was disinhibited attachment - no stranger distress - showed seperation anxiety towards any stranger who gave them attention
- By age 8, adoptees formed close attachment with parents
- At aged 16, more adoptees than restored children were close with parents
- Restored group had worst sibling relationships - were argumentative also
- All had bad peer relationships and seeked attention from adults at school

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Tizard and Hodges - Privation

Conclusion

- If you put a child in an institution at a young age - long term effects occure on emotional and social development

Strengths

- Longitudinal study - development over time - without making assumptions of previous events
- Natural experiment - less demand characteristics - natural behaviour - high validity
- Triangulation of methods used - detailed and rich data

Weaknesses

- Longitudinal study - sample size decrease over time due to right to withdraw  - sample unrepresentative - hard to generalise findings
- Natural experiment - low control - more EVs - difficult to establish cause and effect - lacks validity

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Rutter - Institutionalisation

Procedure

- Romanian orphans put in institutions with poor conditions after civil war
- 58 adopted before 6 months (early), 59 adopted between 6-24 months, 48 adopted between 2-4 years (late)
- Compared to UK adoptees who were adopted before 6 months
- Followed up at age 6 and 11 using interview and observation

Findings

- At age 6 - disinhibited attachment - marked disinhibited attachment most common in late adopted Romanians with 26.1%, rare in UK 3.8%, early adopted Romanians 8.9%
- At age 11 - disinhibited attachment- 54% Roms showing mild or marked disinhibited attachments - at age 11 many Romanians had special education and mental support

Conclusion

- Disinhibited attachments are more likely in children who have experienced longer periods in institutions - can affect mental and educational development

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Rutter - Institutionalisation

Strengths

- Triangulation - rich and detailed data
- Natural experiment - less demand characteristics and more natural behaviour - high validity
- Longitudinal study - takes place over time

Weaknesses

- Interviews and observations are subjective - interpretation - investigator effects present - less natural behaviour - less internal validity
- Natural experiment - low control - cannot manage EVs - difficult to establish cause and effect
- Longitudinal study - sample size decrease - unrepresentative - findings cannot be generalised - lack of population validity

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Campbell et al - Daycare

Procedure

- 48 Swedish participants aged 18 months to 3.5 years
- 9 in family based care, 30 in nursery, 9 switched between both
- At 18 months, child observed at home - standard of care assessed using Caldwells home inventory method
- Observed in a day care setting - gives baseline measurement to see abilities of child before care
- Assessments repeated at 2.5 years and 3.5 years
- At 6.5 years social competence assessed based on caregiver descriptions
- At 8.5 years teachers gave perceptions of childs social behaviour
- At 15 years, completed 2 self-reports measurements on friendship quality and social style

Findings

- Children who spent long days in daycare under 3.5yrs were less socially competent
- Children who attented more days a week but shorter times were more socially competent
- Long days = child tired = frustrated = negative interactions
- High quality care before 3.5yrs developed better social abilities
- Social competence was stable between 3.5 and 15yrs

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Campbell et al - Daycare

Conclusions

- Good quality early care at least up to the age of 3.5yrs is important in the development of socially skilled children - level of competence persists through childhood
- Length of time spent in day care affects social development

Strengths

- Prospective as participants were contiuously studied from age 18 months to 15 yrs - reliable - can see long term effects
- Triangulation - rich and detailed info
- Natural experiment - no demand characteristics - high internal and ecological validity - generalise

Weaknesses

- Small sample - culturally bias - unrepresentative - hard to generalise findings - lack of population validity
- Methods used were subjective - interpretation and opinion - unreliable

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Shea - Positive effects of Daycare

Procedure

- Natural observation - see if sociablity increased with attendance at day care
- 3 to 4 years old - filmed in playground for first 10 weeks after they started nursery

Findings

- Sociablity increased over the 10 weeks as frequency of peer interaction increased
- Decrease in aggressive behaviour over 10 weeks
- Increase in social behaviour was greater for those attending 5 days a week compared to 2 days

Conclusion

- Daycare increases sociability

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Clarke Stewart - Positive effects of Daycare

Procedure

- Observed 2 to 3 year olds from various backgrounds in Chicago

Findings

- Peer relationships were more advanced in children who had attended daycare
- Daycare children learned earlier how to cope with social situations and how to negociate with peers

Conclusion

- Daycare increases sociability

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Belsky - Negative effects of Daycare

Procedure

- Babies under the age of 1 in a daycare

Findings

- 43% had insecure attachment to mother if attended more than 20 hours a week of daycare

Conclusion

- Daycare at an early age can affect attachment formation

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NICHD - Negative effects of Daycare

Findings

- Daycare can increase aggressive behaviour in children who had more than 10 hours of day care each week as they became irritable and had to compete for space, toys and attention
- Overcrowding increases aggression levels and stress levels

Conclusion

- Daycare increases aggression

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Lamb - Negative effects of Daycare

Findings

- Children in daycare have increased levels of stress hormone cortisol
- Stress is linked to higher levels of aggressive behaviour

Conclusion

- Day care increases aggression and stress

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