Psychology Attachment

  • Created by: sama12
  • Created on: 26-04-17 15:06

Introduction to Attachment

Reciprocity- A description of how two people interact. Mother-infant interaction is reciprocal in that both infant and mother respond to each other's signals and each elicits a response from the other.  - Interactional synchrony Mother and infant reflect both the actions and emotions of the other and do this in a co-ordinated (synchronised) way. ---- A01's = Reciprocity - from birth Mother/infants spend a lot of time in intense and pleasurable interactions. Infants have periodic 'alert phases' and signals that they are ready for interactions. Mothers then pick up on it an respond to infant alertness around 2/3 of the time. (Feldman and Eidelman 2007) ---- From 3 months interaction - increasingly frequent and involves close attention to each other'[s verbal signals and facial expressions = reciprocity. Traditional views = babies = passive, receiving care from adult. however, it seems that babies take an active role. both mother/infant can initiate interactions  - Brazelton et al (1975) = Dance - response to partners moves.

Interactional synchrony - The 'temporal co-coronation of micro-level social behaviour'= when mother/infant interact in such way that their actions/emotions mirror each other. Meltzoff and Moore observed the beginnings of interactional synchrony in infants - starting from 2 weeks old. an adult displayed one of 3 facial expressions or 3 distinctive gestures - child's response recorded and identified by independent observers . an association was found. I.S is important for the development of mother/Infant attachment.

1 of 34

Introduction continued part 2

Attachment figures 

Parent- infant attachment ---- Schaffer and Emerson found that the majority of infants did become attached to their careers first around 7 months and within a few weeks or moths they form secondary attachments to their other families. in 75% of the infants studied an attachment was formed with the father by the age of 18 months. this was determined by "the infants protesting when father walked away" - a sign of attachment. 

The role of the father ---- Grossman carried out a longitudinal study looking at both careers behaviour and its relationship to the quality of attachments into their teens. The quality of attachment with mothers but not fathers suggests that fathers attachment was less important. However, the quality of fathers' play with infants was related to the quality of adolescents attachments. suggesting fathers have a different role in attachment - more play and stimulation and less nurturing. 

Fathers as primary carers --- Field (1978) filmed 4-month old babies in face-to-face interaction with primary caregiver mothers and secondary caregiver fathers and primary caregivers fathers - primary fathers, like mothers, spent more time smiling and imitating and holding infants than the secondary caregiver father. the key to attachment = level of responsiveness not the gender of the parent.

2 of 34

Introduction to Attachment Evaluation

  • AO3's --- Many studies involving observation fo mother/infant have shown the same pattern of interaction. however, what is being observed is not just hand movements or changes in expression.making it difficult to be certain. 
  • Observation of mother/infant interactions is generally controlled procedures e.g mother/infant being filmed from multiple angles. ensuring the recording of fine details for later analysis. Infants do not know they're being observed so behaviour does not change in response to controlled observation = a problem for observational studies. = however, this is a strength because it shows highly valid data. 
  • Feldman explanation of synchrony/ Reciprocity are robust phenomena - they can be reliably observed but not useful as it doesn't state their purpose. However, there is evidence that reciprocal/synchrony interactions are helpful in stress responses, empathy and language and moral development. 
  • Research into the role of fathers = confusions- different Psy's is interested in understanding the role of the father whereas others are concerned with the father as primary figure. Gossman's study found that fathers are an important figure yet MacCallum and Golombok found that children growing up in same-sex or single parent households develop the same way. suggesting the role of the father is not important. 
3 of 34

Evaluation Part 2

  • Fathers don't tend to be primary caregivers as a result of traditional gender roles, in which women are seen to be more caring and nurturing than men. on the other hand, it could be because of female hormones (oestrogen) creating higher levels of nurturing and therefore women are biologically pre-disposed to be primary attachment figures.
  • Research into mother/infant can be socially sensitive because it suggests that children may be disadvantaged by particular child-rearing practices. e.g mothers who return to work after a child is born restricts the opportunities for achieving interactional. 
4 of 34

Stages of attachment

Schaffer and Emerson studied 60 infants (working class) in Glasgow. Infants 5 weeks to 23 weeks and were studied up to the age of 1yrs. Mothers were visited every 4 weeks with them reporting their child's response to separation in various everyday situations. the intensity of their separation anxiety was recorded on a 4 point scale. This led to the development of Schaffer's 4 stages of attachment.

Theory: Schaffer proposed 4 distinct stages based on his research. 1st stage = saw infants between birth - 2months produce the same response to all objects and people as they're unable to distinguish between animate or inanimate objects. near the end, they began to display some bias towards human like stimuli with preferences for eyes and faces. they also began to distinguish between people's voices and smells with reciprocity and interactional synchrony beginning to be evident in their relationships with people. 

2nd stage = 2 - 6 months with babies becoming more sociable and able to distinguish people for their company over inanimate objects. they don't display stranger anxiety allowing themselves to be comforted by anyone and enjoying others company.

5 of 34

Stages of attachment continued

3rd stage = from 7 months - babies beginning to display separation anxiety from their main attachment figure through protesting. they begin to show stranger anxiety and a sense of relief when reunited with a primary caregiver. attachment bond isn't always with the same person who spends the most time with them but who is more sensitive to the child's needs with quality relationship more important5 than quantity. 

4th stage = from 10 months+ infant displaying multiple attachments after the first attachment has formed with the primary caregiver. Schaffer and Emerson found that 29% of infants had formed secondary attachments within one most of forming their 1st attachment., at 6 months the infant will show multiple attachment behaviours to many people within their social circle e.g. siblings, the other parent, grandparents and nursery-minders S&E found 78% of infants at 6months had multiple attachments and almost all displayed attachment by 1yrs old.

6 of 34

Stages of attachment evaluation.

  • Weakness= SoA based on unreliable data. Mothers reported their infant's interactions which could have been biased to display themselves in a positive light. E.g. some may have been less responsive to infants needs and protests and thus less likely to report them to prevent being seen badly. Demand characteristics data = lack validity. However, the 4 SoA was based on rese4rach which has mundane realism as it was conducted under everyday conditions with respective careers and therefore conclusions could be argued to have high validity.
  • Weakness = the sample itself is biased as it's based on mother-infant interactions from Working class background for the particular period of time (1964) the results may apply to the W/C population but maybe not other social groups. this study also lacks temporal validity as it was conducted in the 60s making it less applicable to the modern day. Caring practices/guidance/education/working mothers have changed considerably making readings in modern day different and unreliable.
  • Weakness = culturally bias towards western cultures and Sagi (1994) supports this. comparing attachments between the communal settings of Israeli Kibbutzim and infants within a family-based setting, an attachment was more likely in the s#family setting. suggesting attachment may not be universal and 4 stage model has limited external validity to collectivist cultures and may only apply to western individualistic culture.
7 of 34

Evaluation continued

  • Research by Carpenter weakens S&E'a 4 stage model which assumes initially babies will interact with all objects and people between birth - 2 months. Carpentrer found that when 2 weeks old infants were presented with familiar and unfamiliar voices and faces, they stared at their mother's face for longer when it was accompanied by her voice. they also showed themselves to become stressed when their faces were accompanied by an unfamiliar voice showing babies are attracted to and recognise mothers contrary to what the initial stage of Schaffer's 4 stage model suggests.
8 of 34

Animal studies of Attachment: Lorenz

Lorenz AO1

How imprinting occurred within the animal world.

He split a batch of gosling eggs into 2 groups. one group stayed with the mother while the other batch were incubated until hatched - L was the first living object they encountered. the goslings started to imprint themselves on L and start following him where he went. This imprinting was evident when L marked and mixed his hatched gosling with the natural mother goslings. The incubated hatched goslings continued to follow L with no recognition for their biological mother. the process of imprinting was found to only occur if the animal was exposed to a moving object during a critical period of the first 2 days and was irreversible once established. If the animal is not exposed to a moving object it would not imprint itself. Those who imprinted on humans then later went on to try to mate with humans too this also has an effect on mating preferences- sexual imprinting. The process of imprinting is similar to humans and supports the case for attachment itself being biological in nature. imprinting shows how animals are biologically programmed to form a special relationship. Although imprinting does not occur with all birds only Nidifugous birds.

9 of 34

Animal studies: Lorenz evaluation


  • Numerous studies have replicated L work and found similar findings showing that this animal study into attachment has reliability. Guiton (1966) showed- Leghorn chicks would become attached to yellow rubber gloves when used to feed them. Imprinting is designed to occur with any moving objects (within 2 days) these chicks would try and mate with the gloves later on further supporting L's findings.
  • However, some suggest imprinting may not be irreversible or biological but a learned response. Guiton found that chickens who imprinted themselves to yellow rubber gloves and tried to mate later mated with other chickens if they spent enough time with them. 
  • Other research - imprinting irreversible supports the view it is biological. Birds are designed to form a strong attachment only within a time critical period (2 days) - the small window for learning suggesting a biological element. 
  • Imprinting occurs within a critical period similar top Bowlby's idea of a critical period in human infants - external validity and generalisation as there are some key characteristics. imprinting - later - sexual imprinting = Bowlby's internal working model explanation early rels affect later rels. 
  • imprinting in birds led to real-world applications - used to reintroduce birds areas where they've become extinct.
10 of 34

Animal studies: Harlow

  • AO1 - attachment is not necessarily a learned process due to feeding bond.Rhesus monkeys were separated from mothers and raised in isolation cages and exposed to 2 mother figures - 1 wire mother and 1 cloth covered mother for comfort. 4 exposed to wire mother with a milk bottle and 4 exposed to cloth mother with a milk bottle. Measurements through observation on the amount of time the monkeys spend with each mother as well as their responses e.g. when frightened by a mechanical bear.
  • Findings - all monkeys despite who fed the milk spent the majority of time with cloth mother, all frightened monkeys would cling to cloth mother for reassurance as well as touching them with their feet when introduced to new objects. This shows that infant monkeys don't necessarily develop an attachment with that who feeds them but the person offering comfort. 
  • other variations- placing monkeys in a large room with toys. When the wire mother present they were seen to be in fear when cloth mother introduced they would exp[lore room and cling to cloth mother if startled or worried- Bowlby's attachment theory for humans.
  • the monkeys who grew up they would later be seen to have abnormal traits. motherless monkeys were socially abnormal and scared of other monkeys and displayed abnormal sexual behaviour or comfort their own babies.if motherless monkeys spent time with peers they showed recovery but provided before the age of 3. Monkeys 6months+ with wire mother long lasting effects.
11 of 34

Animal studies: Harlow evaluation AO2

  • Criticism- monkeys and their attachment behaviour may not be representative of human behaviour due to us being different species and human governed by greater awareness of their thought processes in their decisions. so it lacks external validity and generalisation to the human population but also internal validity as it demonstrates attachment behaviour in monkeys. On the other hand, monkeys share approx. 94% of our genetics suggesting it has validity to some extent.
  • Research support - Schaffer and Emerson stages.they found infants not necessarily attached to those who fed them but those who were more sensitive to their needs. (cloth and wire mother)
  • Ethical issues - Inhuman treatment of the Rhesus monkeys many died as well as the animals in general. They experienced great distress from separation and were subjected to intentional emotional harm through fear tactics to observe behaviour. They also have long lasting effects which negatively impacted them in later life - struggled to build relationships with peers. Morally unethical that the American animal liberation movement was formed and highlights the question how far animal research can go in the of science.
  • Other argue- gateway to better understand attachment behaviour in humans through a setup which would be incomprehensible to do with humans. 
12 of 34

Explanations of Attachment - learning Theory AO1

Behaviourists- Rienforcements - classical/operant conditioning. 

  • Classical/C-Baby receives pleasure when given food (unconditioned stimuli) and the association of pleasure (unconditioned response) is formed with caregiver = positive emotions, pleasure and attachment behaviour towards the caregiver merely a conditioned response due to their association with pleasurable acts e.g. feeding. Caregiver presence - no feeding - continues as a conditioned response.
  • Operant/C- positive and negative reinforcement. Positive R occurs when behaviour is rewarded and this increases the likelihood of the behaviour being repeated. Infants - hungry - discomfort, therefore, desires food, a primary reinforcer, to remove unwanted feeling. They learn that through crying they gain their attention who feeds them and therefore removes this unwanted feeling of discomfort. This is negative reinforcement where the consequences of a behaviour lead to an unpleasant feeling ceasing. the child, therefore, displays proximity seeking and attachment behaviour with caregiver - second reinforcers and a source of reward and remover of unwanted feelings.
  • provided a plausible explanation on attachments forming - we learn from reinforcement and association. - Vespo (1988) infants observe their parents with affectionate behaviour and simply imitate this back. 
13 of 34

Learning Theory - Evaluation AO2

  • Emerson- 60 babies over 18 months. at 3months they showed no preference however after 4 months preferences started to develop a special attachment from 7 months + with separation anxiety displayed on separation from the caregiver. This study found. It found attachment was likely to occur with those most sensitive and responsive to the child's needs - most rewarding.
  • However, feeding cannot fully explain attachments. -(Can talk about Harlow's Monkeys) evolutionist Bowlby argues - attachment may be innate and serve a purpose in future reproduction and relationships and not just a learnt response. 
  • However, animal research = not able to generalise to human as behaviour may vary due to differences in intelligence, awareness and emotions between humans and animals. - lacks external validity to wider generalisation and considered reductionist for attempting to present an oversimplified version of human behaviour through animals. Behaviourists - approx. 94% genetics shared with monkeys.
  • Ethical issues, Harlow's monkeys - isolated up to 12 months some died due to stress related anorexia- did we learn anything from such cruelty?
  • Weakness, explains how attachment can occur but not necessarily why- unlike Bowlby's attachment theory - it provides a more holistic explanation. Bowlby argued the advantages centred around protection/ survival - understanding of evolution.
14 of 34

Bowlby's monotropic theory AO1

  • Evolutionary theories - B's proposed attachment occurs due to innate biological programming as it serves an evolutionary purpose in aiding survival and reproductive value in the long term in line with Darwin's evolutionary theory.Social behaviours displayed by infants e.g. clinging, sucking, smiling = social releasers = relationship between baby/caregiver. B suggested this innate drive, form attachment, ensures they remain in close proximity to a caregiver that will protect and feed them, increasing chances of survival and reproducing in the future. primary caregiver provided a safe base for them to explore the world and return when threatened. Attachment = aid cognitive development/ provide an opportunity to learn through imitation. There is a sensitive period where attachment can form 3-4months after that it is harder to form.
  • the relationship with caregiver would ultimately act as a template and develop the infant's own expectations of what future relationships would look like - internal working model. this provides an insight into caregivers behaviour/level of influence so a relationship can form between two. The continuity hypothesis proposes there is a link between early attachment and later relationships with poorly attached children - more difficulty forming relationships - securely attached children more stable relationships.secondary attachment figures aid in social development - a safety net for healthy psychological wellbeing. This is the monotropy theory as he believed that infants have one special attachment figure sensitive to their needs.
15 of 34

Bowlby's Research/evaluation AO2

  • Support - Lorenz imprinting.
  • Importance of secondary attachment figures- Harlow's Monkeys
  • However, both studies were animal studies and findings may not translate to humans - lacks internal validity - not a measure of human behaviour. Lack external validity and wider generalisation into humans.
  • Genie - a case study - a young girl raised in total isolation up until the age of 13 and abused by her father - problems in attachment aiding development. After the rescue, her cognitive development was limited and she struggled to learn language skills beyond very basics. Behavioural problems also evident and she never recovered. Internal working model and Bowlby's theory credible here.
  • The Koluchova twins disapprove B's theory of a time sensitive period to form attachments and support learning explanations. 2 boys raised in isolation beyond sensitive period and once rescued, adoptive mothers, showed no sign of abnormal behaviour at 14yrs when re-examined. They had close attachments to their mother and live normal lives into adulthood with stable relationships.'Nurture' - real world application.
  • However, both isolated studies and difficult to establish whether Genie had any mental impairment from birth. The twins it can be argued they had each other to form attachments on. Generalisation=difficult- lack internal valdity.
16 of 34

Ainsworth strange situation A01

  • S.S. was devised to assess how securely attached infants between the ages of 9-18month were to their caregiver. 7 episodes each lasting approx. 3 minutes some of the infants were placed in conditions of mild stress in unfamiliar settings to observe their reaction.
  • 1st = caregiver enters the room and places the child on the floor and sits on a chair. the caregiver does not interact with the child unless the infants seek attention.
  • 2nd = the stranger enters the room, talks to the caregiver and then approaches the child with the toy.
  • 3rd = the caregiver exits the room, if infant plays, the stranger observes without interruption. if the child is passive the stranger attempts to interest them in a toy. if they show distress stranger tries to comfort them.
  • 4th = the caregiver returns while stranger leaves.
  • 5th= once the infant begins to play again, the caregiver may leave the room, leaving the child alone briefly.
  • 6th = the stranger enters the room again repeating behaviours mentioned in step 3
  • 7th = the stranger leaves caregiver returns.
  • S.S placed the child in a mildly stressful situation in order to observe 4 different types of behaviour = Separation anxiety, stranger anxiety, willingness to explore and reunion behaviour with the caregiver. 3 types of attachments.
17 of 34

3 types of attachment AO1

  • Secure attachment- infants show some anxiety when the caregiver leaves but they are easily soothed and happy when reunited with their caregiver. such children can play independently but return to the caregiver for reassurance using them as a safe base from which to explore their environment. they comfortable with social interactions and intimacy.
  • Insecure-avoidant- they show indifference at their caregiver leaving the room and don't show anxiety. they may show frustration and anger at their attachment need not being met. when caregiver returns they may actively avoid contact with them such children may explore the room even with caregiver present and play independently.
  • Insecure-resistance- infants become distressed as the caregiver leaves and rush to them when they return, however, behaviour is characterised by seeking and rejecting social interactions and intimacy. they may not be consoled so easily and explore the environment less than other children.
18 of 34

Ainsworth strange situation evaluation AO2

  • Criticism- it only measured the relationship type with one of the primary attachment figures and usually their mothers. In some cases, maybe some infants were more attached to the father and the study wrongly assumed children are closer to the mother. Therefore it lacks internal validity as it may not be showing attachment styles with the primary caregiver.
  • Criticism/ethical issues- putting children through stressful situations as they intentionally emotionally harmed. 20%of children cried desperately at one point highlighting how it is ethically inappropriate to deliberately inflict such emotional harm - goes against psychological ethical guidelines.
  • S.S. was based on western culture and due to this suffers from cultural bias - lacking population validity when generalising across different cultures. Therefore the findings and conclusions may only apply to western cultures. This also lacks ecological validity as it was conducted in a Lab setting and results gained may not generalise to real-world settings as attachment behaviour may be different.
  • Benefit- easy to replicate and to test the reliability of findings. It allows research to control extraneous variables may impact results giving greater control.
19 of 34

Evaluation continued AO2

  • A longitudinal study by Main assessed children's attachment types in S.S. before the age of 18 months with both parents and retested at 6 years old. results found considerable consistency in attachment with 100% of those classed secure as infants re-classified the same and 75% of avoidants re-classified the same. this shows how attachment types are consistent for the most part but also highlights the role of nurture and the environment can play a mitigating factor.
  • There is evident of another attachment type Ignored by A. Main/Soloman found a 4th = Insecure-disorganised observing over 200 S.S recording they found this was characterised by a lack of any consistent patterns of social behaviour with infants not displaying any consistent attachment type. some struggled with any coherent strategy for dealing with the stress of separation - separation anxiety/ also avoidant/fearful attitudes towards them on their return. Ainsworth didn't offer a complete explanation to attachment nor explain how or why these differences in attachment form.
  • Real-world application that can help improve child/caregiver relationship - lead to more successful secure relationships in adulthood. Intervention strategies e.g. Circle of security projects (Cooper) teaches caregivers to be responsive to the distress signals infants give as well as an understanding of anxiety children feel. This study = those classed as disordered decreased from 60% to 15% and securely - increased 32% to 40%. 
20 of 34

cultural variations

Van Ijzendoorn - meta-analysis of S.S examine the findings of 32 cross-cultural studies of attachment. 2000+ S.S classifications were examined from 8 different countries which examined the differences of att. between cultures as well as findings within the same culture. They found little difference between the cultures with most common attah. type "secure" followed by "insecure-avoidant". the variations and differences within cultures were 1.5x higher than variations between cultures. - Secure attach. a global pattern and not limited to western cultures.

Grossman - German children tended to be classified as insecurely attach. against most cultures (classed as secure) child-rearing practices- influenced this as German cultures promotes interpersonal space between child/parents. S.S children will not show proximity seeking behaviour and be classed as insecurely attch. due to cultural differences in child-rearing practices secure attach. may be incorrectly interpreted - S.S flawed.

Tronick studied Efe - African tribe in Zaire / extended family groups. Infants looked after and breastfed by various women and on most occasions won't sleep with mother - despite this, they still showed attach. towards one primary attachment figure suggesting it may be an innate biological process - Bowlby.

21 of 34

evaluation AO2

  • cross cultural similarities in Attach. behaviour would suggest a strong case support Bowlby's attach. as it could be argued that it's innate and thus apparent across cultures and countries. -The weakness they can be explained due to nurture and psychological factors from the environment. e.g. Media influences - T.V / Book meaning parents will be influenced by this and therefore it may not be biological but rather media influences 
  • Issue- imposed etic based on western cultural values which may not translate to the same meaning in other countries and cultures. E.g. S.S it was assumed that children who were willing to explore their environment were "securely-attached" based on western cultures. However, dependence is encouraged in Japanese culture as a form of secure attachment which limits such behaviour and is translated incorrectly by A's S.S scenario. - lacks validity - not measuring true attachment across cultures but only western ideals of secure attachment.
  • Cultural bais is evident when comparing securely attached behaviour between cultures. Rothbaum argued the theory behind attachment behaviour was too heavily based on western interpretations of what securely attached looks like as a child/adulthood. Bowlby and Ainsworth suggested the continuity hypothesis and securely attached will go into adulthood emotionally and socially competent (independence exploration and emotional regulations. This highlights child rearing are different between cultures and need to be examined.
22 of 34

Evaluation continued AO2

  • Fox examined infants raised in Israeli Kibbutzim who cared for in communal children's homes by nurses. S.S. was used to test attachment styles to study their relationship between nurses and mothers with similar behaviour expressed by children towards both. Reunionbehaviour towards their mothers whom they showed a greater attachment towards. This highlights how primary attachment figure still exists in shared cared environments suggesting attachment behaviour is universal as Bowlby proposed. 
  • Intra-cultural differences could be attributed due to differences in the socio-economic backgrounds of the family of infants. E.G. US samples were middle class while others were from poorer families and intra-cultural differences in attachment being 1.5 x higher could be explained due to this. sub-cultures exist within cultures and they may have their own child-rearing practices. Van Ijzendoorn and Sagi studied attachment behaviour from people of urban background in Tokyo and found results similar to the attachment types of western studies. However, when studying attachment from a rural sample they found more insecure-resistant individuals. they concluded that caution should be taken and generalisations of a countries attachment type could not be assumed from samples based on a culture and subcultures from one country. The implication is that drawing conclusions using S.S is impossible - lacks validity and generalisation for that culture and sub-cu7lture.
23 of 34

Bowlby's theory of Maternal Deprivation AO1

B suggested attachment was essential for the healthy social and emotional development of children and that deprivation can have negative effects on social and intellectual and emotional development even if its short-term disruption. His study of 44 juvenile thieves - 3 important components to MDT

B believed Maternal Love from an attachment figure was as important for mental/emotional development. without this, he proposed a link occurred between maternal deprivation and affectionless psychopathy and emotional maladjustment in later life and Maternal Love = essential for good mental development.

B believed that loss or prolonged separation from an attachment figure during the critical period - lead to emotional disturbance. Deprivation can be avoided (as well as long term psychological harm)  if suitable emotional care is provided by a substitute. Maternal deprivation/ its long-term effects were seen as an inability to form bonds with others, an avoidant/dismissive attachment type (high risk of depression) most likely to be diagnosed with attachment disorder due to emotional maladjustment.

24 of 34

44 juvenile Thieves Bowlby

  • 44 Thieves - analysed case history of children attending child guidance clinic. 44 had been identified as being caught for theft and persistent offending another 44 were a control group. B identified a subgroup 32% - "affectional psychopaths" - lacked normal signs of affection any sense of responsibility/shame. Through interviews with the children, he identified this group had experienced early periods of prolonged separation from mothers, often due to hospitalisation or being in foster care. He viewed this as a casual link for causing later emotional difficulties = basis for his MDT.
25 of 34

MDT evaluation AO3

  • Weakness - based on retrospective information-can lead to inaccuracies in a recall. Also, many of the children were only separated for a short period of time and difficult to believe this contributed to their delinquent behaviour as many children who spend time away from parents don't always result in offending or psychopathic behaviours. B theory doesn't specify how long a disruption if the attachment has occurred for it to be classed as maternal deprivation. deterministic in assuming any child experiencing disruption even for a short period may suffer ill effect/emotional development = not true. Kagan found no direct causal link between separation and later emotional and behavioural difficulties which undermines B MDT.
  • Results -correlational data - cannot prove cause and effect. E.g. children from poorer backgrounds are more likely to be hospitalised due to poor care or socio-economic factors resulting I poorer sanitation. Poverty may be the cause and a confounding variable of such behaviour and not necessarily a disruption or lack of attachment to emotional difficulties.
  • evidence to suggests that a lack of emotional support and ML which B MDT propose is crucial - lead to insecure attachment behaviour. Radke-Yarrow studied mothers - depressed and unable provide emotional care to their children. 55% of the "depressed sample" - children with insecure attachment compared to 29% of a control on non-depressed.
26 of 34

MDT evaluation AO3 continued

  • Bifulco - studied women who were separated from mothers either due to death or temporary separation of more than a year. 25% later experienced depression or an anxiety disorder. A control group no experience of separation 15% suffered from mental disorders. those who suffered the greatest of these problems their loss occurred before age 6 supports B MDT.
  • Theory - huge real world implications especially during the post-war era where many children left as orphans. this research impacted child-rearing practices and altered how children were ensured for in hospitals as prior to this study, mother and children were separated and visitation was limited. B's work, therefore, led to a major social changed in the way children were reared and cared for by institutions and real world applications to help foster healthy attachment bonds.
  • Criticism- not clear exactly whether the children observed in this study had already formed attachments and then broken (deprivation) or whether they had formed any initially (privation). Rutter argued a distinction needed to be made - believed a lack of attachment bond and privation would have a far more negative impact on the child's mental development than deprivation and attachment being broken. therefore in B's study, it may be that the children who displayed the greatest signs of "emotionless psychopath" had experienced privation rather than deprivation which would undermine B's theory.
27 of 34

Effects of Institutionalisation AO1

  • Rutter - longitudinal study to observe the effects of institutional care and privation and whether these could be overcome through providing s nurturing and enriching environment. 165 Romanian children who spent their early lives in an orphanage were observed. 111 adopted prior to the age of 2 and another 5t4 before age 4. the developmental variable was the children's level of cognitive functioning - studied over time. the adopted children were tested at intervals from ages 4, 6, 11 and 15 to assess their cognitive, physical and social development. Parent and teacher interviews to gather further info and they compared to a control group of 52 British children who were adopted before the age of 6 months.
  • Findings - at the initial assessment were the 50% of the Romanian orphans were retarded in cognitive functioning and underweight. the control group of British orphans didn't display these deficits. at 4 the R.O's showed great improvement with some catching up with their British counterparts and most evident in children adopted before age 6 months. those after 6 months showed disinhibited attachment types and displayed social problems with peer relationships.
  • Conclusion - negative effects of institutionalisation could be overcome by sensitive and nurturing care. The British children who also separately didn't display developmental problems-separation from carers alone will not cause developmental problems.
28 of 34

Effects of Institutionalisation AO1 continued

  • Rutter - conducted a follow-up study and found problems in attachment, hyperactivity and cognitive impairment could be linked to institutionalisation. apparent on children who endured long periods of institutional care although 20% showed normal functioning. other apparent problems e.g. emotional problems, peer relationship problems and behavioural problems were concluded not to be linked to institutionalisation. this suggested that specific effects are related to long-term institutionalisation care and only certain types of people. therefore individual differences in children also appear to play a role too in mitigating for developmental problems.
  • Le Mare and Audet. - 36 orphans were adopted by Candian families within dependent variable being physical health and physical growth. at 4 they were found to be physically smaller than a control group of children. this differences disappeared by 10 however and their physical health also improved in life with the control group. this highlighted how recovery from institutional care was possible for physical development.
  • Gardner - found a lack of emotional care may lead to deprivation Dwarfism and physical under-development. other studies found cognitive development may be negatively affected by emotional deprivation as well as disinhibited attachments.
  • Quinton - found that women who had been raised in institutional care tended to be poorer parents and report extreme difficulty in parenthood when compared to a control group. 
29 of 34

Effects of Institutionalisation AO3

  • Cultural bias - The R.Os were in a country with the poorer education system, healthcare and a collapsed government regime. Argued to be the main contributing factor for under-resourced institutions having children who struggle physically and mentally when compared to western institutions which have greater resources for orphans.
  • individual differences - a factor when it comes to the development of children. B suggested that children who don't form attachment within crucial period would be unable to recover, However, not true of institutionalised children. some affected more than others - while others appear to have physical and mental functioning in line with control groups = individual differences play a mitigating role in physical and mental development.
  • real world application can apply tp improving the quality pf care for children placed in institutions. before studies into institutionalisation carers were discouraged from forming bonds. In the past, mothers giving up the child for adoption were encouraged to nurse their child for a significant period of time - by the time they're adopted they have formed a secure attachment.
  • Strength - Rutters study -longitudinal study helped measure the lives of children over many years to understand the lasting differences. this helped identify consistent changes which may have disappeared over time.Weakness - Longitudinal study - factors and extraneous variables. displaying poor development it could be because of poor cognitive stimulation.
30 of 34

Influence of early attachment A01

  • Internal Working Model - research into early attach - Bowlby's IWM = closely linked to a continutiy hypothesis. Sees a continuity with early and later relationships in childhood/adulthood. IWM - similar to a scheme (template) infants have innate tendency to form attachments with caregiver - sensitive to needs. B = unique and the first attach to develop = strongest and forms a schema "template" for future relationships. IWM created consistency between early emotional experiences from a caregiver and later relationships.
  • Childhood relationships -  Earlier rels reflect later rels. evidence - Wippman, Willie and Lieberman all support this secure attachment style being associated with closer friends and greater emotional and social competence into adolescence.
  • Children with IWM  shaped around an insecure attachment type have in contrast found to be more reliant on teachers for emotional support and interactions. Alpern  - longitudinal study and found the attachment types of children 18 months was the best predictor of problematic relationships ay the age of 5 - showing consistemc7 between early attachment and later childhood relationships.
  • Belsky found securely attached 3-5 yrs were more curious, competent and self-confident. they have better peer relationships and can form close friendships. showing a positive correlation between secure attachment encouraging competency in peer relationships and personal development during childhood.
31 of 34

Early Attachment: Adult relationships AO1

Adult relationships also shaped by early attachment. Harlow's research with Rhesus monkeys highlighted how poor attachment early on could translate into poor parenting. Quinton found mothers raised in institutional care were more likey to struggle as parents. the lack of IWM provides no template to subsequently base their own parenting on for their children. 

Hazan and Shaver - investigated the effects of attachment on intimate adult relationships. A "love Quiz" was placed in local newspaper and respondents were asked which of the 3 descriptions best matched their feelings about romantic relationships. the descriptions related to securely attached, insecure-avoidant or insecure-resistant for current adult attachment style. RPS also completed a checklist regarding their childhood relationships with parents to assess the same attachment types when younger. 620 from 205 men and 415 women 14-82 years old. The results found that attachment styles in adulthood were closely matched with people during infancy with 56% - secure, 25% - avoidant and 19% - resistant. securely attached individuals had a positive IWM  and conception of love. Insecure-avoidant were doubtful about existence or durability of love. Insecure-resistant expressed the most self-doubt and most vulnerable to loneliness. 

Early attachment influences have continuity into adult relationships.

32 of 34

Evaluation: Early attachment AO2

Weakness - IWM  and early/later relationships all based on correlational data. No cause and effect -other variables influencing relationships. e.g. individual differences and innate temperament may be intervening variables. The temperament hypothesis suggests s te quality of an adult relationship is determined biologically from innate personality. could be a basis for how later relationships are conducted.

Weakness - Hazan and Shaver investigated links between early/later relationships based on retrospective data. RPS are asked to recall their lives from when they were a child such collections may be flawed and prone to bias based on their present experiences. Meaning it lacks validity.

Strength - longitudinal studies (Simpson) found support for a link between early classifications and how this influences later relationships. Infants assessed as securely attached at 1 were rated as having higher social competence as children age 16. they were also more expressive and emotionally attached to their partners.

Overly deterministic as they assume early childhood attachment types are fixed into adulthood. the assumption that those who are insecurely attached definitely well experience emotional unhappiness is incorrect. Simpson - the past doesn't determine a person future and many factors may intervene to influence later attachment. 

33 of 34

Evaluation: Early attachment AO2 continued

Wood - offered an alternative view which undermined the role of attachment having continuity in later life. he believed the quality of the relationship is dependent on the attachment styles of both individuals. Insecurely attached people can have secure attachment if their partner was securely attached. this may lead to their own attachment becoming secure - this something that hasn't been investigated.

Weakness - IWM there is evidence from other studies to suggest it is not fully supported. Steele found a small correlation of 0.17 between secure attachment type in early child/adulthood. Supported by Zimmerman study which found that a child's attachment type at 12-18 months was unable to predict the quality of later relationships. Nurture and psychological factors such life events were a better predictor for this. e.g. parents divorcing. Hamilton - The role of nurture influencing attachment types and further undermining IWM - found securely attached children would actually later be diagnosed as insecurely attached if they experience negative life events prior.

34 of 34


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Attachment resources »