Types of Attachment


Types of Attachment

Secure attachments: there is a strong bond between the child and its caregiver. if they are separated, the infant becomes distressed. however when they are re-united the child is easily comforted by the caregiver.

Insecure attachments:
Insecure avoidant: when separated the child does not become distressed and can usually be comforted by a stranger. this type of insecure attachment is shown by children who usually avoid social interaction with others.

insecure resistant: child is often uneasy around the caregiver, but becomes upset if they are separated. comfort cant be given by strangers, and it is often resisted from the caregiver. children who show style of attachment both accept and reject social interaction and intimacy. 

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The Strange Situation- Ainsworth

Method: in a controlled observation 12-18month old infants were left in a room with their mother. 8 different scenarios occurred including being approached by a stranger, infant being left alone and the mother returning etc. the infants reactions were observed.

Results: about 15% of infants were insecure avoidant (type A)
                      70% of infants were securely attached (type B)
                      15% of infants were insecure resistant (type C)

Evaluation: method allowed controlled use of variables, making results reliable. however as it was set in a novel environment it made the study artificial and therefore reducing the ecological validity. parents may have changed their behaviour as they knew they were being observed. another problem is that the mother may not have been the child's  attachment figure 

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Cross-cultural studies- Van ijzendoorn and kroonen

Method: Van Ijzendoorn and Kroonenberg carried out a meta-analysis of 32 studies of the strange situation in different countries.

results: % of children classified as secure or insecure were very similar across the countries tested. secure attachments were most common. some differences were found in insecure attachments. in western cultures the dominant type was avoidant whereas in non-western cultures, the dominant type was resistant.

evaluation: children are brought up in different ways in different cultures. the strage situation may not be a suitable method for studyign cross-cultural attachment. the study also assumes that country and cuture are the same thing. a problem with meta-analyses is that they can hide individual results that show an unusual trend.

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