effects of disruption of attachment, privation and institutional care

AS  for AQA A  within topic of attachment

HideShow resource information

Bowlby's maternal deprivation hypothesis

States that if an infant was unable to develop a warm intimate and continuous relationship with his mother, the child would have difficulty forming relationships with other people with other people and be at risk of behavioural disorders.

  • hypothesis focuses on importance of a continuous relationships between a child and mother. Relationships discontinuous become unstable and less predicatble-disrupt developent of relationship
  • Bowlby suggested that the development of this continuous relationship must occur during critical period. child experience repeated seperations before age 2 1/2, less likely to become emotionally disturbed. after age 5, children able to cope better with seperation

  • Bowlby did not suggest the relationship had to be with the childs mother. he did believe that a child needed to form a relationship with one primary care giver for healthy emotional development to take place-monotropy
1 of 7

Bowlby's research into the effects of deprivation

44 juvenile thieves 

  • Participants- 88 children aged between 5-16 referred to the clinic
  • 44 of children were thieves, 16 were 'affectionless psychopaths' (no sense of shame, guilt and lack of social conscience)
  • Bowlby created a record of their early life through interviews.

  • 86% of 'affectionless psychopaths' had experienced prolonged seperation from mother
  • 17% of non-'affectionless psychopaths' had prolonged seperations
  • 4% of non thieves had experienced frequent early seperations

  • FINDINGS suggest link between early seperation and later social +emotional maladjustment 
  • evidence correlated so can't make cause+effect relationship
  • data on seperation collected retrospectively and may not be reliable.
2 of 7

Evaluation of Bowlby's maternal deprivation hypoth

  • evidence used to generate and support the maternal deprivation hypothesis came from studies where children were deprived in many ways. May NOT be maternal deprivation, but other forms of deprivation
  • individual differences may be important
  • Bowlby confused 'cause+effect' with an association
  • bowlby did not distinguish between different kinds of deprivation
3 of 7

Privation and the effects of institutionalization

Three main types of evidence regarding privation:

  • longitudinal studies
  • case studies
  • studies of reactive attachent disorder 
4 of 7

Longitudinal study of ex-institutional children- H

AIM: investigate effects of early privation on social and emotional development

PROCEDURE: longitudinal study, natural experiment. P's were 65 children who had been placed in an insitution when they were less than 4 months old. policy that caregiviers against forming attachments-children experienced early privation.
Aged 4, 24 had been adopted and 15 returned to their natural home, the rest remained in the instution.
assessed at ages 8 and 16 through interviews from those adopted and compared to peers.
FINDINGS: some difference between the adopted and 'restored' choldren. adopted had close attachment to their parents and good family relationships, much less true for restored children. HOWEVER, similarties in behaviour of adopted and restored children outside the family-less successful in peer relationships
CONCLUSION: evidence that DOES NOT support maternal deprivation hypothesis as recovery is possible in the right circumstances.

5 of 7

Further research in institutional care

Rutter et al.

studied 111 Romanian orphans adopted in the UK before the age of 2.

on arrival these children were physcially undersized, but by age 4, they had caught up with age-related milestones.
HOWEVER, the later the children were adopted, the slower their progress. suggesting that the longer children experience emotional deprivation, the longer it will take for them to rever, BUT recovery is possible 

6 of 7

Case studies of children raised in extreme isolati

Genie case- Curtiss 1977

13year old girl-severe neglect and physical restraint-never achieve good social adjustment or language despite intervention and being placed with a foster family.
Maybe she didn't recover was due to being beyond the age of recovery, whereas other were much younger such as the Czech twins

Czech twins case- Koluchova 1976

male identical twins whose mother died after giving birth. the children went to a home for 11 months, then 6 months with an aunt and then went to stay with their father and stepmother. the stepmother was exceptionally cruel and father of low intelligence. the boys were kept either in a small, unheated closet or in a cellar. discovered at 7, could hardly walk with acute rickets with spontaneous speech.
after placement in a hospital then a foster home, gains were made- now adults they are fully adjusted and cognitively able 

7 of 7


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Attachment resources »