ED209 - Child Development - Parenting & Attachment

ED209 - Child Development - Parenting & Attachment

  • Created by: Nadine
  • Created on: 28-09-11 14:44


Attachment Theory - Forming relationships & becoming parents.

Country to country parenting, within countries and from family-family and across times.

4 Psychological Perspectives:

Behaviourism - shaping behaviour

SLT - parents as models

Social Constructivism - Scaffolding development

Psychodynamic Theory - internalisation relationship with parents.

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Animal Studies

Human babies - Long period of dependency

WINNICOTT - Baby essentially part of relationship

Ethonologists - interested in parental care in animals

LORENZ - Imprinting in ducks & geese during critical period - could be linked to human babies however NOT extrapolation NOT straightforward.

HARLOW - Is the bond a way of promoting survival OR child/parent relationship also important - HARLOW's Monkeys - Contact comfort at least as important as food although not in itself enough for good development - Monkeys later showed disturbed social behaviour.

Animal Study questioned implications of early relationships for later development - BOWLBY's Attachment Theory played central part.

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Attachment Thoery

Particular Object can be source of comfort in stress - WINNICOTT - named transitional objects - represent developmental move from early attachment to mother.  Both forms of attachment are to specific person/object.

BOWLBY - Children form IWM - model of self and other and realtionship between them.  IWM continues into childhood and beyond, template for new relationships.

BOWLBY - relatively long term/stable relationship required for healthy attachment, not only a single attachment, a variety can lead to more developed IWM.  IWM can be modified by variety of attachments.  Mother needs to be emotionally available.

BOWLBY influenced by WINNICOTT - 'Good enough mother' - child build tollerence if allowed to experience a certain degree of frustration.

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Attachment Theory 2

BOWLBY influenced by ROBERTSON's films about dustressed children in hospital seperated from parents - termed Seperation Anxiety - reaction from 6mths, with marked fear of strangers.

AINSWORTH - Reactions could show strength of attachment - Strange Situation - Infant behaviour in unfamiliar environment when seperated from mother, approached by stranger, reunited with mother.

3 Child Types:

  • Type B - Secure
  • Type C - Insecure-Resistant - mother not secure base
  • Type A - Insecure-Avoidant - mother not secure base - avoids interaction.

MAIN & SOLOMON - Type D - Disorganised - history of abuse, could be genetic, parental pathology.

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Attachment Theory 3

Attachment types linked to IWM:

  • Type B - Worthy of affection - confidence in mother - sensitive parenting.
  • Type C - Unworthy of affection - upset not eased by mother.
  • Type A - Lacks self-worth, expectations of difficult realtionshipw with mother.
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Influences on Attachment

Mothers Behaviour -

VONDRA et al - Strange Situation used, mothers complete questionaire, link seen between:

  • Sensitive Mother - Type B
  • Controling Mother - Type A
  • Unresponsive Mother - Type C

Experience of Emotion -

GOLDBERG et al - Strange Situation used, 10 child of each type from similar background, consistant differences found to support childs emitional experience and mother's resopnse.  Support AINSWORTH.

  • Type B - All emotions valid
  • Type A - Suppress negative feelings
  • Type C - Negative emotions get attention so are valid.
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Influences on Attachment 2

Infants, mothers and fathers -

Parent relationship important, Strange Situation results only valid in stable parental realtionship.  Some vidence that attachment stability is consequence of stable parent - child interactions.

Mind-mindedness -

MEINS et al - Mothers of securely attached child made reference to child's mental state rather than those who didn't.  Mother's talking about infants state of mind performed better on Theory of Mind tests.

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Baumrind's Model of Parenting Styles

BAUMRIND - 4 parenting patterns:

  • Authoritarian - obidence
  • Permissive - Non-intrusive but available
  • Non-conformist - anti-authority but some control
  • Authoratitive - Encouraging, explanations used (best)


  • Some support but inconclusive
  • Doesn't explain why parents adopt style
  • Useful for invesntion programs
  • RUSSELL et al - mothers more authoratitive, fathers authoriatarian/permissive.  Both harsher with boys.  Possible influence from child on parent style.
  • Culture specific
  • MCKINNON-LEWIS et al - built on this, investigate role of cognitions - Transcational model appropriate here.
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Parent-Child Relationships & Later Child Developme

IWN - central to explanations

MAIN et al - child secruely attached at 12mths with good IWM, more emotionally open at 6.

MAIN & GOLDWYN - Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) - links between infants and adult attachment - 3 categories:

  • Dismissing - Type A - childhood not important or personal relationships
  • Autonomous - Type B - everything important
  • Preoccupied - Type C - past issues unresolved

Longitudinal studies to reduce bias.

ZIMMERMAN - Bielfield Study - SST at 12-18mths NOT good predictor of AAI at 16yrs.  Life events get in the way such as divorce, death etc.

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Parent-Child Relationships & Later Child Developme

HAMILTON - found correspondence between SST & AAI however there had to be stability in circumstances.

Link found between mother's AAI & child's SST -

  • AAI can to some extent predict SST but mostly for secure attahed child.
  • AAI classification can to some extent predict how mother will interact with child.  FONAGY & NAGEL - AAI during pregnancy can predict infant SST type.
  • VAN LJZENDOORN - meta-anaylsis found transmission gap, still not clear.
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AAI used to investigate attachement in adolescence.

KOBAK & SCEERY - peer and self report in adolescence - same as adult.

STEINBERG - Autonmous adolescents better relationship with parents.

Critical transitional period seen -

  • Shift from parents to same sex peers to opposite sex peers.
  • Continuation creating distance from parents.

STEINBERG - found early maturers report more conflict with mother

BAUMRIND - Changes facilitated by authoritative parenting.

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Diversity in Family Patterns & Relationships

  • Generalisation problem as USA & UK samples.
  • Socioeconomic & Sociocultural factors important - critical variables.

STEINBERG & DARLING - authoritative parenting is good for European Americans & Hispanic Americans.  Authoratarian parenting in Asian Americas.

Very little research comparing the cultures.

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Other Themes


  • Aminal reserach used raises issue of extrapolation.  SST advantage of standardised procedure.  Observational is a problem. Longitudinal studies used.


  • Bowlby's attachment theory - mother's behaviour to infants.  Later implications of early attachment using AAI.


  • Baumrind suggests transactional model may provide accurate parenting picture and linear effect seen.
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Other Themes 2


  • Van Ljendoorn & Kroonenberg found similar patterns in SST with some variation across cultures.  Appropriate parenting differs across cultures.
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