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The failure to form attachments.

Some children never form an attachment at all, this is known at Privation.

Privation occurs when there is a failure to form an attachment to any individual, perhaps because the child has a series of different carers or family discord prevents the development of attachment to any figure.

Privated children do not show distress when separated from a familiar figure, which indicates a lack of attachment.

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A famous example of someone who suffered this is Genie, make some notes from the video:

  • It took a while for her to form some sort of relationship.
  • There was obvious physical growth during her time in the hospital.
  • Experts couldn't agree on what to do and what to observe or study.
  • She began learning to speak, proving lots of theories wrong that there was a cut off point for learning a language.
  • After a while, her progress stopped or decreased.
  • There were a lot of questions about the research done on her and how it got in the way of her treatment.
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The Czech Twins.

  • Kuluchova reported the case study of twin boys who were born in 1960, Czechoslovakia and brought up in care after the death of their mother.
  • At the age of 18 months, they returned to live with their father and step mother and suffered serious privation until the age of 7 when they were discovered and taken back into care.
  • Between 18 months and 7 years, they were locked in an unheated cellar away from human company, starved and beaten. When discovered, they had no speech, were terrified of people and had serious health problems from their early malnutrition.
  • By the age of 14, they had near normal intelligence and social functioning. By the age of 20, they were above average intelligence and had excellent relationships with members of their foster family.

This shows us that the effects of privation can be overcome unlike in Genie's case.

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Louise and Mary.

  • Skuse reported the case of 2 sisters who suffered from extreme social and emotional privation in early childhood. 
  • Their mother had severe learning difficulties and may have also had a mental illness. The children were kept in a small room, and tied to the bed with dog leads to keep the flat clean and stop them from falling off the balcony. When they became noisy, they were covered with a blanket.
  • The children were found by social services when they were aged 3 and a half (Louise) and 2 and a half (Mary) and put into a children's hospital.
  • When found, they had no speech and showed little evidence of play. Following speech therapy, Louise developed normal language skills and began to attend a primary school at the age of 5.
  • Mary, however, did not develop language skills and was moved to a unit for autistic children ages 7 and a half.
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  • Harlows Monkeys - raised in privation and couldn't interact. Had social and emotional problems just like Genie.
  • They were case studies so the findings were in lots of detail.
  • They were case studies so the findings can't be generalised.
  • Researchers learn about these cases retrospectively, can we be sure the findings are accurate?
  • Recovery may have been down to the quality of care after privation or the age they were found.
  • Ethics: we are dealing with very damaged cases - is it right that we do any sort of testing on them?
  • Many cases don't even give their consent, research is often intrusive.
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