Ainsworth et al. 1978
Sought to develope a reliable method of measuring the type and quality of attachment between infants and their caregivers.
The Strange situation
- Aim to see how infants behave under conditions of mild stress and novelty.
- 106 American middle-class infants aged 9-18 months and mothers took part.
- Took place in purpose built laboratory play room.
- Group of researchers observe the infant throughout the procedure. Record behaviour every 15 seconds.
- procedure consists of 8 controled and predetermined stages.
1. Stranger introduces mother and child to the experimental room and leaves.
2. Mother and child left alone. Mother sits while infant plays.
3. stranger returns and talks to mother.
4. Mother leaves. Child alone with stranger. Stranger tries to interact with the child.
5. Mother returns to greet and comfort the child. Stranger leaves.
6. Mother leaves. Child left alone.
7. Stranger returns and tries to ineract with the child.
8. Mother returns greets/picks up child. stranger leaves.
Each stage lasts aprox. 3 minutes.
What are they looking for?
Separation anxiety -- How distressed is the infant when the mother leaves?
Stranger anxiety -- How does the infant respond to the presence of the stranger.
Reunion behaviour -- How does the infant greet the mother when she returns.
Use of parent as secure base -- How willing is the infant to explore a novel situation.
Classification of attachment type
Ainsworth et al found that infants could be classified into thee broad attachment types:
- Secure (type B) ------> 66%
- Insecure-avoidant (type A) --------> 22%
- Insecure-resistant (Type c) -------> 12%
-Willing to explore. Mother used as safe base for exploration.
-Comfortable with social interaction, High stranger anxiety, but happy to play with the stranger whilst mother present.
-Distressed when separated from mother but easily soothed when she returns.
- seek and comfortable with intimacy.
insecure avoidant and resistant
- willing to explore with or without presence of mother,
-Little response when separated from mother
-Little response when reunited with mother
- Generally avoids social interaction and intimacy with others
- Unwilling to explore
- Respond with immediate and intense distress when separated from mother.
-High stranger anxiety
- When reunited with mother displays conflicting desires for and against contact.
- Seek and reject social interaction and intimcay.
Main and Soloman 1986
- Re-analysed strange situation video tapes
- proposed a fourth attachment type.
The disorganised type (type D)
- All three of ainsworth et al.'s attachment types show relitively consistent pattons of behaviour.
-disorganised type are characterised by inconsistent patterns of behaviours.
-May show very strong attachment behaviour followed by avoidance or looking fearful.