Japanese children by Takahashi (1990)

Attachment case study

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Japanese children by Takahashi (1990)

Aim: to consider whether it is appropriate to use the strange situation procedure with Japanese children. The key question whether the strange situation is a valid procedure for other cultures other than the original middle class americans, home reared and white.


  • 60 middle class japanese infants, aged 1 year, boys and girls and their mothers. All raised at home
  • same situation as original strange situation
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Japanese children by Takahashi (1990)


  • 68% were classified as securely attached, almost identicalto those in the American sample
  • there were no infants classified as avoidant- insecure
  • 32% were classified as resistant-insecure
  • when the observational data were examined in more detail, differences emerged. the japanese infants were much more disturbed after being left alone. in fact the 'infant alone' step was stopped 90% of the time because infants became so distressed. if the infants had not been so distressed, many more of them would have been classifeied as securely attached.
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Japanese children by Takahashi (1990)


  • the findings suggest that there are cross cultural variations in the way infants resppond to seperation and being left alone. this difference may be due to the fact that japanese infants experience much less separation for example, they generally sleep with their parents til over 2 years of age, are carried around on their mothers backs and bathe with their parents. Japanese infants are almost never left alone. this means that the strange situation could be more than mildly streesful for japanese infants. this also means that behaviours observed were rections to extreme stress, which was not the original aim of the strange situation
  • the findings also highlight a second cross cultural variation. a toal lack of avoidant behaviour in this sample. children are taught that such beahaviour is impolite and they would be actively discouraged from such behaviour
  • the final conclusion must be that the strange situation does not have the same meaning for the japanese as it does for the american participants, therefore it isnt valid.
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Japanese children by Takahashi (1990)


  • research with children especially infants needs to especailly careful in terms of potential psychological harm to participants, which is an important ethical issue
  • the study was carried out on a limited sample of middle class home reared infants like ainsworths study. it may therefore not be appropriate to generalise these findings to all people, although it does show a cultural difference.
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This is just copied from the AS Psychology book :S

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