Psychology Unit One Attachments

HideShow resource information

Schaffer and Emerson - Research on the development



* Most infants showed separation protest and stranger anxiety at around the age of 7 month, sign of specific attachment.

* Within one month mulitiple attachments followed.

* For 39% of infants the primary caregiver was not the one who spent most time with the infant.

* Responsiveness of caregiver was related to strength of attachment.


* Supports the stage theory above and caregiver sensitivity hypothesis.

* It does not support cupboard love theory.

1 of 4

Ainsworth - Research on the development of attachm

AINSWORTH (1963 and 1964)


* Observations of infants in Uganda and Baltimore, USA.

* Infants seek to be close to their mothers especially at times when they are threatened by something in the environment.


* Such behaviour is adaptive.

* Proximity seeking keeps infant safe and using parent as safe base is important for exploratory behaviour and cognitive development.

2 of 4

The DEVELOPMENT of attachments - the stages

1. Pre-attchment (0-2 months) - Little discrimination between familiar and unfamiliar people.

2. Attachment in the making (2-7 months) - Recognition of familiar people but no stranger anxiety.

3. Specific attachments (approx. 7 months) - Separation protest and stranger anxiety develop.

4. Multiple attachments - (soon after stage three) - One main attachment figure (monotropy) but others too.

5. Reciprocal relationships - Predicting and controlling responses of caregiver.

3 of 4

Key Definitions of Attachment unit

ATTACHMENT - an emotional bond between two people, especially mother and infant. Maintains physical closeness between mother and infant. Promotes healthy emotional development.

SECURE ATTACHMENT - Ideal form of attachment, at least in US samples. Characteristics: explore using caregiver as secure base, some distress on seperation but easily comforted, joy at reunion. Related to sensitive responsiveness from caregiver and optimal emotional development.

INSECURE ATTACHMENT - A form of attachment that leads to less healthy development. Two types: resistant and advoidant. Charateristics: Distress or indifferent at seperation; resist or avoid contact at reunion. Related to lack of sensitve responsiveness from caregiver and more difficulty in relationships later in life.

CROSS- CULTURAL VARIATIONS - The way tht behaviour differs from one culture to another. A culture is a group of people with shared social practices, such as child rearing. These practices affect development and behaviour leading to cultural variatiions.

SEPERATION - The physical absence of a primary caregiver but not necessarily of maternal care. The child may or may not recieve suitable replacement care during the seperation experience. If suitable care is provided then there is no bond disruption and seperation need not have negative effects.

DEPRIVATION - The loss of care that is normally provided by a primary caregiver. More specifically bond disruption caused by repeated short term seperations or long term seperation, or can occur even in the presence of a caregiver. Bowlby siggested that this would have a detrimental effect in development.

PRIVATION - The lack of care that is normally provided by a primary caregiver, a contrast with deprivation which is the loss of such care. Like deprivation, lack of care can occur through physical seperation or despite physical presence caregiver provides no emotional care (e.g. abuse). Consequences more severe than for deprivation.

4 of 4


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Attachment resources »