Types of attachment

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  • Created by: Huma
  • Created on: 02-05-13 14:52

Secure Attachment

Characteristics involve : using caregiver as a secure base, distress on seperation, joy on reunion.

Related to respoviness of caregiver and optimal emotional development.

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Insecure attachment

A form of attachment that leads to less healthy development.

Related to lack of sensitive responsiveness from caregiver and more difficulty in relationships later in life. There are two types:

1) Insecure Resistant attachment involves distress at seperation and seeking and resisting contact at reunion.

2) Insecure Avoidant attachment involves indifference at seperation and avoid contact at reunion.

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The Strange Situation

Ainsworth aimed to investigate individual differences in attachments, esp differences between secure and insecure attachments. She wanted to see how infants respond in a new and mildly stressful situation.

The strange situation was a specially set up room in the uni with the researchers watching through one way mirror and videotaping the research.

This was a controlled observational study. About 100 M/C american infants and mothers were pps.

** consisted of eight episodes each of which lasted for 3 mins.


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Key behaviours

Separation anxiety - the respone child makes when the mother departs

Stranger anxiety - the reaction of the child to the stranger

Willingness to explore - a more securely attached child will explore more widely

Reunion behaviour - how the child behaves when the mother returns.

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The procedures can be easily replicated under the same conditions using similiar groups of ppl.

The ** has been repeated many times with most studies finding similiar results. Therefore, we can say the findings are reliable as they are due to differences in behaviour not due to differences with the study.

Wartner et al provides evidence for the reliability of the ** as they assesed attachment at age of 12 months and again at 6 year.

82% of the children remained in the same attachment category over the 5 year period indicating reliability of the classification of attachment types.

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** criticised for lacking ecological validity. ** controlled observation and so is an artificial approach to studying attachment which does not reflect real situations.

This is supported by Bronfenbrenner, who pointed out that infant's attachment behaviours are typically much stronger in the lab than at home.

Internal validity can be questioned as the mother may have experienced evaluation apprehension because she knew her child and her parenting were being assesed and so she may have interacted differently with the child, not showing her normal behaviour.

Therefore, the research wud not have maeasured what it set out to if the behaviour was not genuine.

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Attachment types

The study only looked at attachments between infant and their mother. It has been found that infants behave differently depending on who they are with.

For example they may be classified as having a secure attachment to their mother and an avoidant relationship with their father.

This suggests that what is being measured are specific attachments rather than attachment type, which questions the validity of the ** as a measure of attachment type.

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Temperament Hypothesis

Ainsworth believed that differences in attachment types were a result of the mothers sensitivity to the children's needs.

However, others have argued that Ainsworth's explanations places too much emphasis on the role of the mother and ignores the temperament of the child.

This suggests that Ainsworth's explanation is limited as it is not a complete explanation of attachment type and in order to gain a full understanding other explanations must be considered.

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