Psychology: Attachment in everyday life

Attachment in Everyday Life

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Day Care: a temporary care for infants and children which is provided by someone other than the primary caregiver/s.

Day Nurseries: where children attend an established day care setting.

Childminders: where a small group of children are cared for in the childminder's home.

Nannies: where a professional cares for a child in their own home.

Non-residential family: where children are cared for at home by non-residential family members, like grandparents.

Social development: changes that take place in regards to social development:

  • ease and strength of making relationships with peers
  • child's ability to cooperate with others
  • how well a child can aquire and use certain behaviours to adjust to a new environment or situation
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Anderson conducted research in Sweden.

Used a longitudinal method, followed 128 children who had been placed in day care from a young age.

Assessed at 8 and 13 years old. 

Found that those put in daycare before 12 months of age performed better at school and scored higher in measures of social adjustment and social competence

- may lack cross-cultural validity, findings may be specific to the Swedish child care system where there is a lot of funding, so results may not apply to all cultures.

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National Institute of Child Health and Development  in America used over 1000 children as a part of longitudinal research.

When cohort were 5 years old NICHD found a correlation between spending more than 10 hrs a week in day care and aggressive and disobedient behaviour.

Children in full time daycare were 3 times more likely to display behavioural problems e.g. tantrums.

Research shows daycare has a negative impact on development and causes aggression.

- Follow up research on the same children shows that they still show aggressive behaviour at the end of the primary schooling, suggesting daycare has long-term effects.

- There is contradictory research such as Anderson

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Clarke-Stewart studied 150 2-3 yr olds form Chicago who attended day care. Found that they displayed more advanced social development than those who were raised at home. They were better at coping social situations.

- may be issues with cause and effect. The shy children may prefer to stay at home, and those who are innately sociable attend daycare. Could be a result of their temperament not day care.

Shea videotaped 3-4 yr olds in the playground for 1st 10 weeks of nursery.

She found that those who attended daycare 5 days a week had a greater increase in sociability than those who attended only 2 days a week.

Suggesting that daycare increases a child's ability to interact with its peers.

- shows a clear difference between sociability and time spent in day care.

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Soufre believed that the 1st yr of life with mother was important for the development of a healthy mother-child attachment and those who don't start daycare until the age of 2 go on to form healthy attachments are are more likely to be popular.

Belsky and Rovine used the strange situation to compare the types of attachment between infants receiving less than 20 hrs/week of daycare and those who had less than 20. 

More than 20 hours/week

Securely attached: 59%

Insecurely attached: 41%

Less than 20 hours/week

Securely attached: 74%

Insecurely attached: 26%

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Day Nurseries

Day Nurseries

most nurseries in the UK can provide for 26-40 children, although numbers can vary depending on size. The children usually get seperated in smaller groups, depending on age. 

There should be a good child-staff ratio:

  • 1 member of staff : 8 children aged 3-5
  • 1 member of staff : 4 children aged 2-3
  • 1 member of staff : 3 children aged under 2

Staff are regularly inspected to conform to regulations and the staff must be qualified.

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Child minders


Can have a maximum of 6 children in their care but only 3 or less children who are under the age of 3.

They tend to look after the children in a home environment. They must be registered and inspected by the Office for Standards in Education who carry out regular checks on the home and childminder.

Not all have qualitifications.

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Quality of day care

Quality of day care

The quality can vary along a number of dimensions:

- the number ratio of staff to children

- the staff turnover

- the physical provisions

- the training of staff

- the dedication of staff

- the type of children recruited

- stimulating environment

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Staff Training

Staff Training

NICHD found:

  • 1/4 caregivers provided sensitive emotional care
  • 1/2 provided moderately sensitive care
  • 1/5 emotionally detached

Howes et al trained staff to improve the sensitivity. Six months later it was found that it had improved the attachment security of children compared to a control group who didn't receive training.

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Key Worker Systems

Key Worker Systems

Bowlby's theory suggests that children need healthy attachment for healthy development.

Belsky and Rovine found that long time in day care can lead to insecure attachments. For this reason, the Key Worker System was introduced. This is where a child worker is introduced to a small group of children to act as a substitute attachment figure whilst in day care. 

As a result, the child gets more stability and and consistency in their care.

They are present during stressful times and provide emotional security and inform parents on the child's development.

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