Unit 3 child

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  • Created on: 29-04-14 14:22

Define Child Psychology application

Child psychology is a branch of developmental psychology that covers infancy, childhood and adolescence. It is particular concerned with how the experiences we have in early relationships might affect out cognitive, social and emotional development. For example attachments are of interest to developmental psychologists who have suggested that they provide stability and security for a child. It has been argued that attachments provide an internal working model for future relationships. Not only is typical child development studied, but also abnormal development, and the emphasis is often on problems faced by children. For example, autism is a pervasive developmental disorder which developmental psychologists have sought to explain and devise enrichment programmes for. Child psychology also considered specific childhood experiences, such as neglect and childcare. 

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What is attachment?

An enduring love bond between a child and caregiver that provides stability and security for the child- it provides a secure base from which to explore. 

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What is deprivation?

Occurs when someone has a warm, continuous, loving relationship with one person and is deprived of it through some sort of separation which can be short or long term. For example if a child goes into hospital.

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What is privation?

Refers to an infant’s lack of attachment. This is different from deprivation, which occur when an attachment in broken through separation. Children who are private could have had an attachment figure at one time, if some extreme trauma or separation from such a figure have taken placed. Usually privation is thought of as never having had an attachment figure. 

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What is evolution?

Genes that help the organisms survive are passed on through reproduction whereas characteristics that do no aid survival die out because the genes of those characteristics are passed on through reproduction.

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What is daycare?

Refers to any situation where a child is cared for by someone other than parents for some or all of the day. Types of day care include crèche, which is a very short term deprivation, or full time day care, which is longer separation. Day care includes care at day nurseries, child minders or relatives.

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What is a structured observation?

  • Setting and the situation are manipulated
  •  In child psychology, used to gather evidence about a child’s deviant or inappropriate behaviour.
  • The observer records certain information about behaviour about the child behaviour in the situation. The antecedent, the behaviour and the consequence.
  • This is called ABC.
  •  Purpose is to find out what sets of the behaviour, antecedent, then to observe the actual behaviour and then see what happens as a result for the child, the consequence.
  •   Observations can be overt or covert. However can’t be covert in the sense that a parent doesn’t know their child is in a study. 
  • Observations are commonly non participant, observers watches form a distance without being involved. Participant observations can be sued with children, but not in the way typically with adults. To study children, a participant obseravtion may involve a research joining a school class as an assoicate teacher. 
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Example of a structure observation?

Strange situation. 

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Strengths of structured observation

An efficient method: the behaviour  being observed might not either occur again or not occur for a long time, making it difficult to observe any other way. They are also time and cost effective. For example in the strange situation, Ainsworth easily observed many children in one day. But if waited for the behvaviour to naturally occuring, it would take a long time to gather the data. 

Relaiblity: Highly standardised and documented in sufficient detail for replication to take placed. E.G. structured observation like the strange situation are more reliable than naturalistic observations as the situation is clearly defined and so it what the observers are looking for. Two people watching the same child in the ** are very likely to classify the same attachment type. 

The reason for conducting structured observations is to provide evidence, for example a child deviant behaviour and possible triggers. Therefore the situation must be carefully noted and the antecendent behaviour and consquence must be clearly visible and be recorded. this means that relaibility is mroe likely than naturalistic observations. Typically inter-rater relaibility is established by comparing interpreations between two or more researchers. Video recordings can be used to check for relaible finding as it than can be viewed more than once by more than one person. 

Validity: Structured observations like the ** tend to have good predictive validity. By this we mean that can predict something about how a child will turn out based on the results of the observation. High levels of controls means high internal validity. 

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What is separation anxiety?

Is displayed in infants around 7 or 8 months, in that they will cling to their attachment figure if a stranger tries to interact with them and will be distressed by separation from their attachment figure. This shows that a secure attachment is in place.

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Weaknesses of Structured observations

Validity: they are set up situations that are not natural and the environment is artifical, so they lack ecological validity. They also may not be set up correctly, so may not represent reaility. It is unlikely that a parent and infant will interact in the same way in a lab setting as they would at home.

Chance of demand characterstics which will affect the validity as the behaviour has been modified by the PPS. In Child psychology, it is unlikley that children will show demand characterstics but adults may.

Observer may be baised and interpret findings accoridng to prior assumption

Subjectivity:  may be subjective interpreation leading to inconsistecny between observers.

No cause and effect: can't demostrate cause and effect relationships as there is no manipulation of an IV. So if an observation shows that boys play with boys toys more than girls toys, there is no evidence to suggest the cause is parental role model. observations are often a precursor to experimental research, which could experimentally test whether children's role model their parents behaviour. 

Ethics: using children in structured observations should be considered such as causing undue distress so the behaviour of the child should be monitored and procedures stopped if distress is detected. 

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What is a naturalistic observation?

  • take place in the PPS natural setting, without the situation being set up.
  • they can be overt, covert, participant, non-participant.
  • can gather qualitative data or quantitative data if tallying is used.
  • inter-observer relaibilty means that more than one observer uses the same categories and participants, so that results can be checked to make sure they correspond.
  • example: Parten (1932) who looked at play, found categories of types of play, according to the child's age. she obserbved free play sessions to gather data.
  • Naturalistic observations are useful in research for child psychology as they help understand real behaviour, thus help children develop appropiate behaviour. 
  • they also help see how often abnormal or deviant behaviour occurs, and time sampling can be emplyed ti build a detaield picture of a child's behaviour. 
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Strengths of naturalistic observation

Validity: High ecological validity as being observed in natural setting and their behaviour is unaffected by observers, so findings would be affect by demand characterstics. Results will be true to life as children in an enviornment when the behaviour occurs naturally. 

Reliability: data gathered by tallying, time sampling, prepared categoires and more than one observer. inter observer relaibilty. 

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Weaknesses of Naturalistic observations

Reliability: unreliable because of researcher bias as we all have unqiue perceptions of a situation. for example two people watching a mothers interacting with infants in their own home without an agreed way of coding behaviour may come to different conclusions. however this is delt by training observers to be objective and having many observers to test inter-rater reliability. 

Like field experiments, naturalistic observations do not control extraneous varaibles that might occur in natural setting. even in school playgrounds, children may behave differently due to the presence of a teacher. this make them difficult to replicate as identical conditions are unlilkely to be repeated.

Not reliable as observation is at one time, in one situation with particular observers, and the same situation is unlikley to recur. however by using tallying, time sampling and prepared categories and more than one observers can give inter-rater reliability. 

No cause or effect: observations can't demostrate a cause and effect relationship as there is no manipulation of an IV. For example Robertson and Robertson

Validity: results may not be truley valid as the presence of the observer may affect the paticipants behaviour.

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Comparing Structured and natural observations

  • Structured observation has less ecological validity than a naturalistic observation as the enviornment is artifical. 
  • Structured observation is set up so the behaviour measured may not be as spontaneous as behaviour observed in a naturalistic observation. 
  • children in lab are more likely to show demand characterstics than in a natural enviornment because they are aware of taking part in something strange or different to their normal routine, so may alter their behavour. 
  • Natualistic observation, the research has t wait for the behaviour to be displayed whereas in a structured observation, the situation can encourage the behavour to be occur.
  • Both observations can't conclude any cause and effect conclusions as no manipulation of an IV
  • Can be either overt, covert, in terms of the child and can be participant or non-participant
  • Naturalistic observation as no contol over extraneous variables.
  • Structured has low ecological validity
  • Naturalostic are had to replicate but have high ecological validity. 
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Ethical Issues: observations in research

Privacy: In a naturalistic observation, if the behaviour being observed takes places in a public space it isn't unethical to make such observations- as long as other guidelines such as condifentiality are adhered to. 

Deception: Observations can involove deception if they are covert but not overt. In a covert observation, deception can be dealt with by debriefing and giving participants the right to withdraw their data. However in some covert observations there is no right to withdraw from the study as the PPS didn't know about the study. This raises questions about the ethics of such studies.

Informed consent: Structured observations are less lilkely to involove informed consent because, if pps knew about them, they might behave differently. So in strucutred observations there is likely to be deception, lack of informed consent and no right to withdraw but a full debrief would be needed. in the case of very young children, consent would be obtained from parent, so it could be aruged deception isn't a issue. 

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Ethical Issues: Observations in a clinical setting

The guidelines for research still apply in a clinical setting, but there are extra guidelines under the headings of contracting, consent, confidentiality, keeping records, supervision and working with other proffesionals. The BPS also has a number of documents relating to ehtical guidlines for practitoners. e.g. Childhood ASD.

If in a clinical setting, ethical guidelines relating to that setting are not adhered to then a psychologist can face criticism/ punishment from peers and BPS. chartered psychologists must, as part of their proffesional development keep a log and submit it every year- ethics is part of this log. 

Psychologists usually work for institiuations such as the NHS or prison service which demand high levels of ehtical conduct. if a member of the public feels they have been mistreated by a psychologist, they can complain to the BPS and it would be followed up. 

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Special issues that apply when studying children

Parents must be asked for consent on behalf of the child, and be advised on what will hapen in the study. Child's consent is not the same as an adults due to comprehension level and vulnerability. 

Due to current interests in children rights, it is considered good practice to ask permission of the child as well as the adullt and explain to them what will happen in the study and give them the right to withdraw and permitted to ask questions. 

children have the right to withdraw and researchers should have the competence to enforce withdrawal if they suspect the child is experiencing difficulties.

all information is confidential. information disclosed by the study that affect the child's well being must be referred to an expert, whi may follow up with the parents.

Incentives such as sweets should not be offered in exchange for participation

unlike with adult PPS, when observing children in naturalistic observations, permission must be sought from the parent

there is the need to pay specical attention to ethics where children are too oung to give consent, for example the strange situation. 

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  • observations of people in a public place are considered ethical
  • covert observations do not have informed consent, RTW, and they involve deception- these must be delt with by debriefing.
  • overt observations involove informed consent, RTQ and no deception- a debrief is still neeed
  • In a clinical setting there are very clear BPS guidelines and sanctio if these are not adhered to
  • there is an issue with regard to child's rights and childrens participation. 
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What is a case study?

Detailed investigation of a single person or group of people. They employ many techniques such as experimentation, observation and interviewing, that add detail and richness to the study as both qualitative and quantitative data are gathered and analysed as one case. 

Often used as a research method for rare and unique cases or when it wound't be appropiate to use experimental methods, for exaple to study the effects of deprevation on child development. 

Case studies in child psychology might look at rare instances of privation on the social, cognitive and emotional developmment of a child. In this instance, a child can be subject to tests to understand their level of cognitve ability. social development can be examined by observing the childs interaction with other children and interviewing the child can be used to assess emotional development. 

(many research methods are used within a case study)

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Strengths of a case study

Validity: Case studies are considered one of the most valid research methods available as they gather rich information using a variety of techniques that can be built up into a detailed record that is a valid assessment of that case.

Different techniques are used to measure the same variable in different ways, and if they have the same outcome, the study is considered valid.

Reliability: case studies can establish reliability by using a range of different techniques to test the same concept. this is know as triangulation. Many researchers and thos independent of the study are used to establish objectivity and prevent research bias.

Ethics: case studies are often used in situations that would not be ethical to study using other methods such as an experiment. for example it wouldn't be ethical to deliberatley isolate one child from it's parents just to see how isolation affects development. there is also need for deciet. 

Use in child psychology: useful when practising psychologsts are considering unique children presenting with indiviudal problems and issue, e.g. genie. They provide the necessary depth of data that can prepare an intervention and often longitduinal whcih means that developmental features can be shown sucessufully. 

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Weaknesses of case studies

Reliability: can be affected by researcher bias as the interpretation of the behaviour is subjective. another research may come to a different conclusion. This problem is magnified when the researcher comes closelly connected with the child and lose sense of objectivity. Not possible to replicate case studies due to the unique characteristics and experiences of the individual, therefore not possible to test for relaiblity. 

Generalisability: the findings may not be generalisable to others because they are one-ff studies of unique individuals. The experiences and circumstances of the participant are exclusive to that person. so the finding are likely to be too. 

Ethics: as case studies are conducted on unique and rare indiviudals, it may be thay they biolate condifentiality, informed consent and the right to withdrawa. the case of genie exempligies the ethical ussyes concerned with child case studies. Genie's care was entrusted to a group of researchers at a hospital. without consent, she as subject to a range of test and technqiues to aid her development. her case led to extensive media coverage, but she was unable to understand and therefore withdraw from the situation. evenutally she was re-homed when research funding ran out. Critics argue that this was blatant abuse of a vulnerable child, whilst others argue that her best intersets wer paramount. 

Use in Psychology: not possible to generalise the finding of a case study to other children as it is an idiopgraphic approach. this is a problem because as a science, psychology aims to formulate general laws to humans behaviour. 

Validity: due to the subjectvity in anaylsis and possible resarcher bias the validity of the case studies can be weakened. 

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What is a longitudinal study?

Looks at participants over a length of time, documenting any changes. They can involve using the same procedures but over time to measure changes or they can involve a more ethnographic or case study approach to gather data. 

they can involve researching a group of people of an individual psychological study. 

the lenth of a longitudinal study depends on what is being studied, it can take a few years or even more, as long as the behaviour being studied shows a genuine development course, the study is longitudinal. 

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Strengths of longitudinal studies

Reliability and validity: they use the same people over a period of time which means that variables such as IQ are controlled. this is a strength because if the procedires are controlled and it is only age that changes, conclusions can be condifently drawn- this increases reliability and validity. 

Validity: they avoid the 'cohort effect' whciih is the different in social and culutral changes that exisits between ages groups beccause of time/ generational gap and this increases the validity. 

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Weaknesses of longitudinal studies

Validity: although the same people are used throughout the study, there are many factors affecting development which means it is hard to draw conclusions about any one feature. 

Attrition can be a problem ( when people drop out). the likely high drop-out rate in longitudinal study can lead to a biased sample. this is because who continue in the study may have something in commen such as having the same sort of family or being more confident about participanting. such viases threaten the validity of longitudinal studies. 

Practical: longitudinal studies are time consuming and expensivve. Researchers can also change during the study. 

Reliability: very difficult to replicate beacuse of time constraints and generational differences that might affect the findings of a study if it is repeated later. 

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What is a cross-cultural study?

Cross-cultural research is conducted to see if behaviour is universal. Studies are carried out in more than one culture and their finding are compared in order to find differences or similarities between cultures. Cross cultural studies can use any methodology as long as they inolove carrying out the study in different cultures and comparing the findings. Cross cultural research can also given us important psychological insight to whether behaviour is due to socialisation or biology. Cultures differ in terms of the way they bring up or socialise children, so if behaviour differs we might conclude it is part of socialsation and not genetics. 

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Strengths of cross cultural studies

The main way of studying nature and nurture issues. The research is useful in understanding whether behaviour is innate or learnt through socialisation. This can help psychologists understand the basis of behaviour and how it can be explored furthur.

E.G. attachment research has found that different cultures show different patterns of attachment. Furthur research has explored how child-rearing styles vary between cultures, causing different attachment types. 

Reliability: There is likely to be reliability when procedures are carefully controlled, so they can be repeated such as the strange situation and the timings of each season, each being 3 minutes long expect the first one being 30 seconds. 

Validity: Ethnopgraphic cross-cultural studies are valid and in-depth

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Weaknesses of cross cultural studies

Validity: Ethnocentism might occur because a research may interpret the finding of cross-cultural research in terms of their own beliefs. 

there is a lack of validity in transferring a procedure from one culture to another as there is likely to be different understandings of what the procedure is and how to reat to it. For example with the strange situation, in some cultures being left with a stranger is a normal situation the face, whicou would effect the validity of results in finding different attachment types. 

There is also a lack of validity in setting up a procedure that is controlle enough to be repeated in different cultures. 

Generalisability: if case studies and ethnographic methods are used, they are likely to be more valid, but they might be hard to compare and to generalise from as lack of population validity. 

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Bowlby's Theory of Attachment

Key Points

  • MDH ( critical/sensitive period and monotropy)
  • Evolutionary basis
  • Social releasers
  • Internal working models 
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Evolutionary basis of attachment

Evolutionary theory- characterstics that aid survival will means that an organism will survive pass on this characterisitic through genes (survival of the fittest)

Attachment is innate and adaptive ( attachment is biologically pre-programmed into children at birth and encoded in the human genes). Infants who don't become attached are less likely to surive and reproduce. The attachment acts as a secure base from which to explore. Seperation anxiety draws the child back to the caregiver. 

According to Bowbly, babies egive off social releasers such as crying, smilling and gurling. the interplay between the social releasers and the instincitve parenting responses build the attachment betwen the infant and care giver. There is senstive period of around 2 years when a baby is orientated towards tying to interact with parents and if the mother ignores the social realsers during this  senstive period, the main opportunity is lost and it will be much harder for the child to from later attachments. in practice this means a main caregiver must be present and attentive during a child's infancy. He suggested that a child's need for an attachment figure was an evolutionary trait. Essential ideas that a child must maintain proximity to a parent in order to survive. He used the work of Lorenz (1952) who found that geeese would follow the first moving object they saw after birth (imprinting). Lorenz concluded that the young geese that followed the mother survived, and the ones with the trait lives and passed on the genes. Bowwlby used this idea to suggest attaching was a survival trait. 

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Evolutionary basis of attachment Evalution

  • Validity with the regard to the behaviour of geese, because Lorenz used ethology which is the study of animals in their natural experiment and later findings replicated the findings such as the rubber glove. 
  • however only some animals imprint, so can;t be used as a universal law of behaviour. 
  • Hard to generalise from animals to humans because of obivous differences.
  • Ideas of babiees being pre-programmed is plausible
  • Evolutionary basis doesn't focus on the qualitiy of attachment formed

Research into importance of attachment

 Harlow and Zimmerman (1959) removed infant monkeys from their mothers. One set was allowed access to a towel covered 'wire monkey' as well as a food giving 'wire monkey. Other monkeys could access only the food giving monkey. Those monkeys would could get comfort from the towel, did so and at the end of the study were better adjusted physically and mentally. He concluded such comfort was important for the developing monkey and that is not food alone that connects the mother and infant. 

Evaluation:monkeys were clearly frightened- Ethially questionned as monkeys were clearly distressed.  monkeys share 98% or more genes with humans, generalisation to humans to an extent .Animals are not the same as humans, generalising isn't really valid.Schaffer and Emerson(1964) foudn infants formed multiple attachments showing infants don't just attach to their mothers for food. Supports Harlow.

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Biological: Social releasers of Theory of Attachme

Suggested babies are born programmed to behave in ways that encourage attention from adults. These cute behaviours include smiling, cooing, gesturing and sucking which were named social releasers as their purpose is to release instincitve parenting behaviour in adults. The interplay between the infants social releasers and the parents responsers built up the attachment between the infant and carer. 

Senstive period of around 2 years when a baby is orientated towards trying to interact with adults. If the mother doens't repsond to the socail releasers during the sensitive period, the main opportunity is lost and will be much harder for the child to form attachments later.

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Biological: Social releasers of Theory of Attachme

Evidence to support: 

Brazelton et al (1975) observed mothers and babies during their interactions. They noted mothers and babies took turns in beginning interactions and moth imitated each other's movements.An experiment took place in which mothers were asked to ignore babies social releasers and found that the babies distressed quickly. Some even curled up and became motionless, exhibiitng signs of depression. Supports Bowlby's idea about social releasers and the importance of responding to them. 

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Psychodynamic roots of theory of attachment

Psychodynamic theories suggest that relationship problems can arise from fantasies about relationships with parents. 

Bowlby thought that real relationships with parents could be the cause of later prpblems, which meant he moved away from his pychodynamic roots, but he still use psychodynamic ideas. He thought that  a child's mother or care giver acts both as the ego and superego before these could develop. 

Internal working model:

Attachment has consquences for the later development of the child. He proposed that each child forms a mental representation of it's first attachment, called an internall working model. This mental represenation is called to mind in forming later relationships and influnces their own parenting behaviour. If the child internalises a working model of an attachment as attentive, loving and reliable, then this is whaty the expect from and bring to a relationship. if on the other hand, they are neglected or abused, then there is an increased possiblility that they will seek out or display these behaviours as an adult.

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Psychodynamic roots of theory of attachment evalua

Ideas of internall working model predicts that patterns of attachment will be passed on from one generation to the next. 

Bailey et all (2007) tested the idea and questionned 99 teenage mothers with one year old babies about their attachment to their own mothers. They also observed the attachment behaviour of their babies. Those mothers who reported insecure attachments to their own parents were more much likely to have children who behaviour implied insecure attachments. Suggests what Bowlby proposed, a pattern of insecure attachment was being passed on from one generation to the next. 

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General Evaluation of Bowlby theory of attachment

  • Been influentail in academic circles and also has been applied to the real world. Hospitals now allow parents to stay with their children to prevent disruption, day care facilities adopt a keyworker strategy to provide a subsitiute caregiver in the absence of a working parent and social services support parents who are struggling rather than remove the child into foster care. 
  • His theory suggest that even temporay seperation between the child and the caregiver has damaging effects and this has led to many working mothers feeling guilty for leaving their child. 
  • Some argue, happy working mothers is mroe able to provide quality interactions with a child than an unhappy non-working mother. it is the quality of interactions that is critical, not the quanity as Bowlby emphasised. 
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Exam Question on Bowlby theory of attachment

Describe and evaluate (12)

  • Attachment is the loving bond between child and caregiver
  • Children develop an attachment to a single caregiver (monotropy) during the first few years of life.
  • there is a sensitve period for attachment during the first few years of life.
  • if an attachment isn't formed it many be compensated later
  • the interal working model represents a mental concept of what a relationship should be like.
  • orgins of attachment can be found in evolution as it is a necessary to mechanism for survival
  • attachment in encouraged through proximity seeking behvaviours
  • deprivation/ loss of attachment can affect later development
  • rejected children view themselves as unworhty of love
  • Ethological examples to show evolutionary basis
  • quality of attachment is more important.
  • Bowlby 44 theives supports his theory has found deprived boys were more likely to be deliquent and lack empathy
  • theory been used as a tool to keep women at home
  • failed to distinguish between deprivation and privation
  • Harlow monkeys gives evidence for evolutionary basis- problem to generlaise.
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Attachment types

From studies using the strange situation, Ainsworth identifed 3 attachment types:

Securely attached (type B)

In this type, the child is distressed when the mother leaves the room and seeks comfort from the mother when she returns. This is seperation anxiety and is expected when a child has formed a secure attachment. This type is linked with a responsive mither. In Ainsworth (1978) study in Baltimore, 70% of infants were securly attached. 

Anxious-avoidant (type A)

In this type the child is not distressed when the mother leaves the room and tends to avoid her when she comes back in. In Ainsworth's study, around 15% of the sample had babies who were anxious-avoidant. 

Anxious-resistant (type C)

In this type the child stays close to the mother when the mother is in the room and becomes very distressed when she leaves. The child wants her for comfort when she comes back in but rejects her comforting. About 15% of the babies in Baltimore were this type. 

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Ainsworth and Bell (1978)

Aim: To establish a method of measuring attachment. The study aimed to test how different children respond to strangers and separation anxiety. The ** is novel and aims to encourage exploration and test the secure base concept. 

Method: Structured observaton

Sample: Children aged 12-18 months from 106 middle-class families in the US

Procedure: Consits of 3 minute epispodes:

  • Parent and infant enter the obersavtion room.
  • Parent and infant are left alone. Parent doesn't participate while infant explores. 
  • Stranger enters, converses with the parent, and approaches the infant and tries to interact through play. Parent leaves. 
  • First seperation episode: child and stranger are left alone
  • First reunion: after a period of time, the parent returns to join the child, consoles and the stranger leaves.
  • Second seperation: parents leaves the room leaving baby alone. 
  • Stranger enters and attempts to console the child. 
  • Second reunion: Parent enters, greets and picks up infant, and the strangr leaves
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Ainsworth and Bell (1978)


Secure attactment (type B): 70% showed distress of parents departure. ignored stranger when mother was absent. On mothers return, easily soothed and resumed explortation. 

Anxious avoidant attachment (type A): 15% displayed indifference to their mother leaving and din;t display stranger anxiety. upon renioun, avoided contact with their mother and parents generally ignored parent when playing. 

Anxious resistant attachment (Type C): 15% were seriously distressed when parent left and weren't easily soothed upon their return. Infant sought comfort and rejected it simultaneously. Parents was inconsistent: either over sensitive or angry and rejecting. Infant displayed stranger anxiety with or without the parent. 

Conclusion: Patterns of behaviour showed that this is a valid mthod of assessing individual differences which highlights the important behaviours realted to attachment. Infants vary in the way they behave which may be related to the behaviour of the caregiver. If a mother was sensitive and cosistent, more likely to develop a secure attachment which was the greatest. 

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Ainsworth and Bell (1978) Evaluation: Strengths


Reliability: Procedure is replicable and carefully itemised so that the situation is excatly the same for all mother-child pairs and observations can be compared. This gives reliability. There was many observers, which means inter-observer reliability could be tested. Also the prodecure has been carried out many time which have drawn the same conclusions and similar attachment types have been found across the world, which suggests there is reliability.

Ethics: the mother is in control with regard to the level of distress experienced by the child and can shorten the seperation as much as she wants to, so ethical issues are covered- at least to an extent. 

Application: The procedure is mostly used for research purposes- it has been adapted for study with children and even adults- it is accepted method to measure attachment across the world.

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Ainsworth and Bell (1978) Evaluation: Weaknesses

Generalisability: Procedure could be said to be culture-specific, as the situation is a child in a short waiting room and palying with toys alongside the mother and then the mother leaving occurs in the US and other Western cultures, but perhaps less so in other cultures. The sample was large, of 106 but all paricipants were middle class Americans meaing the findings aren't generlisable within the US, let alone beyond. 

Validity: it doesn't take into account individual differences of young children. the procedure itself could be measuring temperament of the child rather than the attachment type. A child may be particuarly anxious with the parent present of absent. Kegan (1984): focused on the role played by personaility in determining a child's attachment to the mother, the temoerament hyoithesis and some children are easier to attach than others. The basis of which attachment types are formed can also be questionned. Ainsworth believed that maternal sensitivity achieved a secure attachment type. If the ** is an invalid measuremeent of attachment then it also questions the validity of the link between parenting style and attachment type.

Criticised for lacking ecological validity because the situation is unfamiliar to the chlild. Child could be responding to the situation rather than the absence of the mother. 

Ethics: deliberatley distressed. however mother knew exactly what the procedure was, extent of informed consent and RTW. effects weren't long term, 

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Cross-cultural research: Uganda and Baltimore

In 1963, Ainsworth studied 26 families in Uganda.

Observed interactions and watching mother-child relationships. 

Also interviewed mothers and gathered data about mothers sensitivity

mothers who knew alot about their babies were sensitive to their infants needs. 

All tended to have secure attachments. 

In 1963, 26 families obsereved in Baltimore- followed from birth to first year. 

Naturalstic observation took place in home and issues such as responsibeness to crying and face to face interactions were studied. 

2nd part of the study, the child was taken into the lab for the strange situation. 

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Comparing Uganda and Baltimore

70% of US mothers were sensitive mothers and had secruely attached children.

Similarly, the Ugandan mothers also tended to have securley attached babies who didn't cry much and used mothers as a secure base and Ugandan mothers were sensitive to their babies needs.

Also had some Type A attached children as did US mothers. 

Study is Baltimore used the ** test but also interviews and obserations to obtain information about sensitive mothering.

the two studies gave similar data, so the attachment types were thought to be universal. 

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Cross cultural studies in attachment

Germany: Grossman et al (1985)

found greater number of anxious-avoidant (type A), 49%. Securely attached (B) 335 and anxious-resistant (C) 18%. This suggested there are cultural difference in attachments. 

Israel: Fox (1997) and Sagi et al (1985)

Fox studied infants raised in an Israeli kibbutzim who spend most of their time being care for in a communal children's home by a metaplet but were most attached to their mothers. Sagi found that Isreal had the highest % of anxious-resistance (type C), 50%. This was because the mother was regulary absent and caregivers rotated shift and couldn't give promt attention to individuals.Kibbutz children have extended childcare, often communal sleeping arrangments. 

This cultural difference affecting attachment type is supported by Sagi, comparing kibbutz childen who experience family sleeping arrangments and communal sleeping. It was found that children who slept with the family showed 'normal' attachment patterns compared to children who slept communally. 

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Cross cultural studies in attachment

Japan: Miyake (1985) and Durrett et al (1984)

Miyake foound a higher number of anxious resistanat (33%) attachment types in Japan that the US (12%),but no anxious aovidant. He explained that traditional Japenese mothers don't leave their children with others and encourage dependecny on them. Japenese children are kepy cloe to pacify them and they rarley cry. In the **, these children would become very distressed. 

Durrett observed that in modern Japanese families, mothers do go out to work and leave their children. The attachment type found amongst these modern families were similar to those in the US. These 2 studies illustrate that there are market intra-cultural differences in the distrubtion of attachment types- overall, intra-cultural differences within a country are 1.5 times are large as inter-cultural differences globally. 

Efe tribe from Zaire: Tronik et al (1992)

studied African group, the Efe, from Zaire. The infants are looked after and even breastfed by different women, but usually slept with their own mother at night. The infants still showed one primary attachment 

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Cross cultural studies in attachment weaknesses

Conducting research using the ** has provided some intersting findings and illustrates the impacts of culture of attachment. Some argue. that the ** isn't a valid tool for measuring attachment types in different cultures because we can't determine whether it is the culture or the attachment type that is being measured.

Ainsworth and Bell study is an imposed etic as it an ethnocentric measure because it has been derived in one culture, USA and is therfore representative of the norms and vakue of the that culture only. Attachment behaviour regarded as healthy in the USA many not be regarded as such elsewhere.

Cultures have many differences, including family structure, parenting styles, what is expected and how children are seen in society. With so many factors involved it is hard, if not impossible to draw conclusions about which feature causes which effect. Where there are such complex issues measuring them equally and fairly to allow comparisons is difficult, if not impossible.

(See revision guide for more weakness mainly on lack of generalisability and validity)

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Cross cultural studies in attachment strengths

The same procedure was used in different cultures, so in theory, conclusions from each study can be compared with one another fairly. This gives findings relaibility in that the same procedures were used. There did seem to be consistency in the patterns observed, e.g. the 3 types of attachments were identified in each of the studies. 

In general the main attachment type is securely attached and, when a different attachment type is found to predominate, this tends to be explicable by looking at culutral preferences in regarding acceptable behaviour, rather than by 'bad' mothering.

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Cross cultural studies what can be concluded

Cross-cultural research using the ** has been shown to be reliable as the same proedure has been used in different countries and there has been consistency in the findings that there were 3 types of attachments observed in the different countries, with 'securely attached' being the main type. 

However the task itself may have lead to findings of cross-cultural differences in child rearing styles rather than the sensitivity of mothering as the ** is based on the US- it is not a culture- fre method and as such, is an imposed etic when used in other cultures/ 

Furthermore, cultures differ in many aspects such as family strucutre, parenting styles, expectations and how the child is viewed. The ** doesn't take into accounts these factors which means it is extrememly difficult to make corss-cultural comparsions with regards to attachment behaviour.

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Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis (1953)

Bowlby suggested that maternal care is essential for emotional and cognitive development. Maternal deprivation means having an attachment broken through deprivation, although Bowbly didn't seperate deprivation from privation. 

It was a critical period hypthesis because there was a proposed window during which this deprivation would affect development, the first 2 years of life. If an infant experience frequent seperations during this period, the effects on emotional development would be permanent. He identified two serious consquences of the failure of attachment or serious disruptiion of the relationship:

  • Affectionless psychopathy: inability to experience guilt or deep feeling for other people.
  • Developmental retardation: argued there is a critical period for intellecutal development and that if children are deprived of a stable relationship with their caregiver they might not develop a normal level of intelligence.
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Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis (1953)

Break down into 3 parts

Focus on continour relationship between the infant and the caregiver- interruptop of the relatioship can lead to instability.

It was a critical period hypothesis: if the relationship is disrupted during the first 2 years of life the child is likely to become emotionally disturbed and cognitive development may be delayed. Potential effects include delinquency, lowered intelligence, depression and affectionless psychopathy. He believed that these effects would be permanent. 

The child needs to form a relationship with one primary caregiver for healthy emotional development (monotropy)

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Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis (1953) evaluation

Bowlby's 44 thieves study provided evidence for a link between early disruption to attachment and later emotional impairment. However there are some flaw, Bowlby himelf carried out both the interviews nd the psychiatric assesment. He knew what he was expecting to find and may have been biased in his assessment. Also the data were based on recollections of event from many uears previously which may not have been accurate due to distortions in memory and there may have a social desirability bias. 

Furthur supporting evidence comes from Harlow and Harlow (1962) who researched rhesus monkeys deprived of an attachment figure. They found that they interacted abnormally with other monkeys when there were eventually allowed to mix and were unable to form attachments. Supports the arguemnt that deprivations causes permanent effects. However the study was on animals, and may not be possible t generalise the findings to the development of attachment in human infants. 

Concept of monotropy has been challenged by research evidence. Schaffer and Emerson conducted a longitudinal study of swedish infants and found through observations and interviews that by 18 months children had more than 1 attachment figure. Suggests that babies don't demonstrate monotropy. Supported by cross cultural research. Tronuck studies the  Efe people in Zaire who care children as a collect, the average number of carers is 14, but there were no detrimental effects on the children, there were social benefits.

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Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis (1953) evaluation

Some of the most serious criticism against the MDH have come from Rutter. He argued that Bowlby hadn't distinguished between deprivation and privation and nowadays psychologists tend to assoicate the very serious effects of affectionless psychopathy and devlopmental retardation with privation rather than deprivation. 

Secondally he challenges the idea that deprivation and seperation are the cause of later maladjustment. In his own resarch, 1967 he suggested that it might be better to see speration as a consquences, bot a cause; seperation and maladjustment are seen as the consquences of discord and psychiatric ilness.

Thirdly, he challenged the idea that the effects of deprivation are irreversible. The study by Rutter et al (1998) of Romanian oprhans suggested that if negative experiences from privation or deprivation are adressed early and effecitvely, they can be overcome. 

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Short term deprivation: hospitalization and day ca

Robertson & Roberston (1968( filmed 5 children, aged 1-2 who mothers were in hospital for 9-27 days. One child was in a residential nursery and the others were looked after by a foster mother. They aimed to show that the distress experienced by the children. when seperated could be reduced or even prevented if they were given substitute emotional care. 

John (17 months): 9 days in residential nursey

  • Makes effort to get attention from nurses, but can't compete with more agressive children
  • gradually breaks down from loss of mothers, lack of emotional care, strange foods, change in routine and attacks from other children/
  • refuses to eat or drink, stops playing, cries a great deal. stops trying to get attention from nurses/
  • Visits from father fail to relieve anxiety
  • upon reunion with mother, rejects her- screams and struggles against her attempts to hold him. 
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Short term deprivation: hospitalization and day ca

Jane (17 months): 10 days in foster care

  • Food and routines are kept the same to those at home
  • father visits regulary and foster mother is fully available to meet her needs.
  • After a few dats. she shows strain of seperation by sucking, impatience and resistance to being handled. Howver she sleeps. eats well and relates well to the foster family.
  • Supportive care prevents excessive anxiety and Jane's reunion with her mother is not as difficult, although she is reluctant to give up the foster mother. 

All children displayed signs of PDD;

Protest: Child shows sign of great distress-crying a lot. Anger and fear are evident.

Despair:Child becomes calmer but apatheric as little interest is shown in anything. Self comfort behaviours are observed such as thumb sucking and rocking.

Detachment: Child appears to cope well, but is emotionally unresponsive. 

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Short term deprivation: hospitalization and day ca

Of all the children, it was John who was is residential nursey with no emotional support offered, who suffered the most anxiety during seperation and had the most difficulty in reuniting with his mother. Of the other chilren, Lucy suffered anxiety during the loss of her mother but managed well in the care of the foster family. Whilst she was upset to leave the fost mother, both mothers cooperated in making the transiation easier. 

Kate who was seperated from her mother for 27 days, coped relatively well as first but eventually broke down. However due to the support from the foster family and visits from the father and trips to the hospital to see the mother, she was able to resume warm relationships with ehr familt when reunited.

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Short term deprivation: evaluation

Research ignores the impacts of the type of short term deprivation e.g. where the child went and who they were with. John was put into a residentail nursey whereas other childrem were filmed by the Roberstons were either admitted to hospital or spent their time in a family setting. In this respect. the 3 different situations studied for each type of the children weren't equivalent, it could be argued that the children in a family setting were in a less threatening setting. 

The research ignores individual differences in the way children repsond to short term deprivation. John was reported to be a shy child whereas the others very aggressive- this may explain why John and some of the others suffered from the seperation more than others. Kirby and Whelan looked into effects of hospitalisation on children, and concluded that althought have dire consquences, there are many vairables that imapcts the effecs such as age of the child and quality of thier parental attachments. 

Applicatiions- Roberstons have made contribution to our understanding of the effects of hispitialisation for children. Hosiptals now go a great length to reduce the truama of hospitalisation for childen, e.g. encouraging parents to be around as much as possible.

Metholdology? Small sample. observations were subjective, only noticed negatives. children studied were at the critical age. Naturalistc obs- valid data but relailbity and generalisability.

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Long term deprivation: Divorced/ reordered familie

Cockett & Tripp compared intact families with divorced and reordered families. A sample of 152 children and their parents were divided into intact, reordered and discordant groups. Children were assessed on their self image, social life, schol success and health. They found that children with reordered familes came out worst and the intact group best. How well families had dealt with reordering was also assessed, and most parents came out badly. Only a small minority of the children has been prepared in advance and fewer than half had regular contact with the absent parent.

Evaluation: problem with using this study to compare the efffects of reording and discord is that is is truely imposssible to match the groups, it's possible the reordered groups greater incidence of problems was due to soem from of greater conflict or lesser reason for staying together that triggered the spilt, rather than the spilt itself. 

Another weakness; it is correlational and therefore can't be concluded that divorce causes academic, social and emotional problems. Studies such as these are problematic in that divorce isn't a specific event, rather a long draw out process. It is difficult to isolate variables which may affects a childs development and is diffiuclty to draw firm conclusions regarding divorce.

Strength: evidence, Amato (1993) showed that conflict between parents who lived together is associate with self esteem in their children, suggesting can have long term effects on child.

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Long term deprivation: Death of a parent

Death of a parent rarley involves the type of conflict or disruuption that is caused by divorce. In fact, it is more lilkely ghe family will provde high levels of support for a child in such circumstances. It is also unlikely to cause the child to be angry as it is not a speration 'choice' that the family makes. 

Saler and Skolnick (1992) found that children who were allowed to speak openly about the death of a parent with the surviving parents and other family members  and recieved hight level of care and effection appeared to be protected against later depression. 


Strength: Usefull application, the knowledge from this study suggest that the negatice effects of the death of a parent can be reduced by encouraging the child to openly grieve and high level of care being provided by other family members. 

Rutter (1981) Isle of Wight study conlcuded that the reason for the separtion was more important rather than the sepation itslef. Children who experienced the death of parent fared better than children seperated by high conflict divorce. If seperation was from death, child was unlilkely to turn to crime. Concluded it was the conflicy and stress before the seperation which causes the anti-social behaviour. Study involved 2000ps- generalise and reliable

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Ways that negative effects can be reversed

Hospitalisation: One way is easing short-term seperation is with a replacement attachment figure. After Roberston&Roberston work demostrated that young children in hopsitals suffered maternal deprivation and showed PDD, they decided to take action and do futhur study. Fostered a child,Jane whose mother was about to go into hospital and found the transition was better if the child visited them with parents beforehand, is she brought something familar and if routine was kept the same during the stay

.Providing more individual care, Skodak and Skeels (1945) found that children in  orphanages who were given more stimilation or where there were more staff per childrem improved in IQ more than those who didn't have mroe stimulation.

Death of a parent: Saler and Skolnick's study suggests that children who experience the death of a parent should be encouraged to mourn to prevent later depression and should be ensured that they recieve high levels of affection and care from the surviving parents and other family members. 

Divorce: Keep conflict to a minimum or not witnessed by the children (Schaffer). To avoid attachment being permanently broken, the non custodial parent should try and remain regular contact with the child. Fear can be reduced by offering explanations and comfort and in the case of older children who are able to understand, decisions should be explained and dicussion should be encouraged. 

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Research into privation- Genie is the main one

Koluchova (1972): reported a case of twin boys who lost their mother shortly after they were born. After her death, they were placed in an insitiuation for a year, then in care with an aunt before finally returning to their father and new stepmother at the age of 18 months. Their stepmother regularly beat them and locked them in a small dark room. Twins were found at 6 years old and were mentally retarded, scared, severly undernourised with little speach. They went to a children's home and after 2 hours they were fostered by 2 sisters who provided exceptional care. When found, IQ= 40, age of 11 they had developed normal speach for their age and by 14 had normal IQ. By 1991, they were married with children and were said to be happy, stable and have warm relationship. Seems intensive loving care provided by the sisters had reversed the effects of privation.

Evaluation: Strength is that there was a normal baseline against the measure their lack of progress. know that the twins were typical in their development when they left care of aunt. This means it can be concluded that any problems came not from nature but from their nuture. This was an in-depth case study where a lot of data was gathered and measure such as IQ tests were used, data valid and a real life situation. it was also longitudinal so data about reversiblity of privation in the early years. 

Weakness: the boys had each other and could have formed attachment with each other, and also with their aunt so may be deprived of attachment, not privated. 

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Are the effects of privation reversible?

Genie: Suggests privation isn't reversible. She was not able to properly develop langauge, and, evenn after some time and given treatment, it was still clear that Genie was not developing in a typical way. However, there was some progress, as she did learn some language, how to comunicate and how to interact with people- so to this extent at least the effects of privation might be reversible.

One main problem with the study is the lack of a baseline measure. It wasn't completely clear that Genie was developing typically before mistreated so badly, therefore the outcome may involve nature not nurture. 

Czech twins: suggests the effects of privation are reversible. They were developmentally behind for their age when found but they improved reasonably quickly. By the age of 11 their speech was normal for their age and by the age of 15 their IQ was normal for their age. They were given special care, so it might be that privation is only reversible with extra special, continuous care. 

A strength of the Czech twin study is that it was longitudinal and the twins were interviewed again many years later and found to be ahppy and sellted as well as in stable relationships, so the evidence for privation being reversible in strong. However the twins did have each other so their attachment to each other could have been enough, whcih would mean that this was not privation as such. 

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Are the effects of privation reversible?

Other evidence: 

Harlow's monkeys- the ones privated at birth didn't make good mothers themselver and found relationships difficult which is evidence that the effects are not reversible.

Freud and Dann (1951) studied a group of very young children who were liberated from the ghetto of Terezin and had been privated in that they were looked after by an adult who 'passed through' the camp (only physical care was provided- not emotional care). The children were sent to Britain and developed normal intelligence, in the main. This would suggest the effects of privation are reversible. However, the children were strongly attached to each other, so as in the case of the Czech twincs, perhaps they were not completely private. 

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Ethical issues affecting participants in privation

Informed consent: There may be issues of informed consent with regard to access to privated children. The children may be under legal guardianship of another (non-parent) who may give consent on their behalf. The child itself can't give informed consent as they are not competent to be informed. Genie was uner hopsital guardianship who were the instigators of the research. 

Extensive testing: Participants are studied intensively for a long period of time which may be distressing. Genie was subject to extensive psychological testing, such as experiments and scans, which may have caused distress. 

Research funding: withdrawl of funding for psychological research can lead to attachments being broken/ responsibility for the child being neglected. Genie's study involved a withdraw of funding rendering her left in foster care and removing her attachment with a researcher. 

Right to withdraw: The child is not competent enough to withdraw themselves from the study. Typically a private child is not able to understand the research aims or have the ability to withdraw from the care/study such as Genie. 

Confidentiality: Privation studies are rare, so the child is likely t be identifiable through research. Despite a legal order of anoymitty, Genie has been identified later in life. Pseudonyms are often given to protect the child's identity. 

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Characteristics of Austim

Autism is part of the autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), which also covers the more common Asperger's syndrome (AS). Autism effects more boys than girls and the ratio for more secerte autism is 4 boys to every 1 girl. It is thought that about 2 people in every thousand (0.2%) have autism in this country. 

Traid of impairments:

Communication: some people on the specturm have sppech difficulties. Other may struggle more to read body language, or they may have difficulty with informal use of language such as jokes.

Social interaction: because people on the autistic spectrum find it hard to understand other' emotions or express their own, they find interacting with other peeople difficult. 

Socail imagination- people on the spectrum often find it hard to imagine what is going to happen next in a situation. They therfore find new or unpreditctable situations frightening and may not anticipate danger. 

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Theory of Mind: Cognitive explanation of Autism

Simon Baron-Cohen (1997) believed social problem that autistic children have could be explained by the way a child perceives themselves and other in their social world. This be socially comptent we need to be able to 'mind read', not in the paranormal sense, but in the sense that we can understand that other think differently and have different intentions and feeling from outsellves. He believed an autistic child has 'mindblindness', the inability to read others' intention, whcih would explain their lack of social interation. Cognitive psychology considers how information is processed in the brain as well as how thinking processes develop. Therefore, this explaination for autism that there is no theory of mind is a cognitive explaination. To explain further, the idea of autistic chilren having no theory of mind, researchers have looked at low empathising people and high systemising. 

Low empathising means not being good at understanding the emotion and feeling of others

High systemising means being able to sort thing into groups, plan and build structures, work out patterns and work things out in their heads (internally) 

Someone poor at emathising will find it hard to work out external event, wich means it will be difficult to discern what other people are thinking. Autistic children are high systemisers and low empathisers. A child who finds it difficult to work out external event would not have a theory of mind because would find it difficult to look at things from a different viewpoint. 

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The Sally-Anne Task

Aim: To test the Theory of mind explanation for Autism.

Procedure: Baron-Cohen (1985) adapted a study to test the theory of mind in 20 autistic children, 14 with down syndrome and 27 typically develoipng children. The Sally-Anne task was used on all children and they were asked 3 questions: 

  • Where is Sally's ball? ( reality question)
  • Where was the ball to begin with? (Memeroy question)
  • Where will sally look for the ball? (belief question)

The last question was used t determine a theory of mind. If a child could understand that sally would look in the basket where she left her ball, they would be able to understand that she possessed a mind that was distinct form their own. However, if they stated the ball was in the box, they wold not be able to understand that Sally had a different belief from them. 

Findings: Most typically developing children and children with down syndrome could answer the belief question, compared with only a minoirt of autisitic children.

Conclusion: Autistic children seemed not to have developed a theory of mind. 

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Extreme male brain: biological explanation for Aut

Idea that autism is an extreme male brain is an extreme male brain condition follows from the evidence that autisitc people tend to be low empathisers and high systemisers and has been fowarded by Baron-Cohen. 

Males are females are typically stronger at specific tasks:

Male-orientated task:                    Female- orientated task:

Mental rotation                                Language task

Targeting ojects                              Empathy 

Mathematical reasonsing                Matching tasks

Geometry                                      Pretend play with children

The finding that females are better at language tasks whereas boys are better at tasks such as map reading seems to reinforce the idea that females are better at empathising and boys are better at systemising. As there are more boys diagnosed with autism than girls, it appears that autism could be linked to male hormones. 

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Extreme male brain: biological explanation for Aut

Baron-Cohen et al believed that these differences are cause by the presence of testosterone in the womb whilst a foetus is developing. At around 8 gestational weeks, the male embyro releases testosterone and causes a male brain to develop distinclty different to that of a female brain. He believed autism is an extreme form of this male brain and research has indicated that, while boys are better at male-orientated task than girls, autistic children are far superior to males at these tasks. 

Knickmeyer and Baron-Cohen (2006) explain that these brain differences cause superior social and communication skills in females. Autism is a lack of such social skills, and as it occurs for times more frequnetly in boys, it could be that such brain differences can explain autism.Falter et al (2008) tested 28 autistic children and 31 typically developing children on mental rotation and figure disembedding tasks. They found that children with autism outperformed typically developing children. 

Baron-Cohen (2003) put foward the idea that females are better empathisers and males are beetter systemisers. Using self report data, he found that in the general population females scored more highly on empathy question and males on systemising questions. Autisitic children scored significantly lower on empathy and higher of systemising than the general population, which supports the theory. Females can have male brinas and is not about being a boy or girl but about features of the brain, explantion doesn't conflict existence of female brains.

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How Autism might affect a child's development

Problems with friends: Someone with autism has trouble making friends. This is because they find it hard to see another person's point of view( lack of theory of mind) and also with difficulties with empathising. Autisitic children often have obessive behaviour interests which can make social interactions difficult- others can find these interests uninteresting. Furthurmore, a lack of empathy cna lead to other children as seeing thos with AS uncaring and insenstive. Beauminger & Kasari(2000) found that autistic chuldren had fewer friendships and were more lonely, but they understood lineliness less.  There are sometimes difficulties with ete contract and non-verbal communication and these can linkk to problems with freidnships, as friendships rest on such social interaction. 

Problens with communcation: Children with autism differ. Some have special talent' some are very good at language while others have great difficulty. So autism affects different children differently. Autistic children tend to have problems with communication, including learning language, and with reading and writing. They tend to have difficluty with the meaning of words and sentences. Some autistic children can't speal, whereas others can talk fluently. so it hard to generalise. It is in using language that autisitc children tend to have the greatest problems. Even children who use language tend not to use it with meaning. for example they might continously count without reference to objects, or repeat sentecnes they have heard when it is inappropriate to do so. Autisitc children may be able to speak in depth about a topic that intersets them but they are unlikely to be able engage in a converstion about the topic.

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The NICHD study in the USA, ( negative effect of d

Aim: to look at the effects of childcare on children

Procedure: Using a longitudinal design, the researchers gathered data by means of observation, interview and surveys. There were 1,200 children involved and the data was gathered from their birth to when they started school 

Results/conclusions: Children who spent early continour and intensive time in daycare were likely to have more behavioural problems later, such as aggressiveness or disobedience. Therefore the lenght of the time in daycare is important.

The behaviour was rated by parents and teachers. Nursey type care led to improvements in cognitive nd lanuage development but icrease behavioural problems such as aggression. Low-qualitity care was bad for children who mother lacked sensitiivty.

Good qulaity care included repsonsive, attentive staff and stimulating enviornment. In general it could be said that this study is against daycare, as least if it is for a long time each week and is low quality. 

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NICHD evaluation


This was a longitduinal study, therefore coverage was thorough, using the same children over time so individual differences should have been into account. 

There were more than one research method, therfore validity and relability could be checked. 


There are many variables involved when studying childcare and it is very hard to draw meaningful conclusions. Development includes social, emotional and intellecutal factors so there are many aspects to consider, and there re many factors affecting the child, including family background.

The study is done in the USA and to generalise to other cultures might not be appropritate. Cross-cultural studies,such as those done using the ** suggest that child-rearing pratices differ between cultures. 

Sutdies such as these tend not to consider that all children respond differenently to childcare, some are resilent and thrive whilst others temperaments are shy and suffer from the intensity of daycare situations

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The EPPE project in UK (positive effect from dayca

Aim: To look at the impact of preschool provision on a child's intellecutal and social/behavioural development and to find ot if social inequalities could be reduced by attendance at a pre-school setting. 

Procedure: The study involved 3,000 children and method included observations and interviews. There was a range of socail backgrounds in the sample. Two groups were focused on, those in some sort of day care and those who stayed at home. The children who stayed at home were the control group and 144 centres took part.

Results/ conclusions: High-quality care improved social, intellecutal and behavioural development. 

The earlier a child started daycare, the greater the intelecutal development. 

Children had better socialabilty, independence and concernation the longer they had been in daycare. 

Full time attendance didnt't give higher grains than part time/

disadvantaged children were better off in food quality daycare and in groups of mixed social backrgrounds. 

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EPPE evaluation


The control group and planned sample to include differences in social backgrounds mean that conclusions could be drawn more safely as ther was a baseline measure of typical development without daycare.

The longitudinl design meant indivudal differences were controlled for and taken into account and also a great deal of data could be gathered and compared. They are an excellent way of assessing the long term effect of daycare on a child's development. 


The study had government funding and the government would benegit from having mothers at work and from having children in daycare. If daycare helps children develop in term on intellect and behaviour, then that helps the government out aswell. So it could be claimed that the finding in favour of daycare were what the government wanted, however the researchers are well respected and there is no evidence for this criticsm. 

Crosscultural studies such as those looking at attachment types and child rearing tend to suggest cultural differences, so generalising from the UK to other cultures might not be valid. 

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Belsky and Rovine

Aim: To look at infants in their first year of life to see the effects of non-maternal care experiences using the strange situation procedure to categorise infants into 3 attachment types. Focus was on the father and mother. 

Procedure: There were 90 male and 59 female born infants. Their families were maritally intact and of middle class background. Two main methods of collecting data: interviews about background and daycare use: interviews were carried out when the baby was 3 months old, then again at 9 months and at 12 months to find out about parents' employment and childcare arrangments and was recorded how long child was in daycare. 4 groups were formed:

  • 38 infants in full time day care( 35 hours + a week)
  • 20 infants in high part time day care (20-35 hours)
  • 24 infants in low part time day care (10-20 hours)
  • 67 infants in the mother care group ( under 5 hours)

All in the first 3 groups had started non-maternal care before the age of 9 months old. 9 families had fathers as the principal provider of non-maternal care, 11 families used other relatives and 9 infants were in day care centres. The ** procedure was used, first at 12 months with the mother and again at 13 months with their father. Videos were recording and shown to raters blind to grouping status. 90% inter rater reliability. Attachments were A, B and C

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Belsky and Rovine results

Findings show that in the full time daycare group, wives had the highest status jobs and the husbands had the lowest educational level, and the couples earned the most. In the mother care grroup, husbands had the highest level of education, whilst wives had the lowest status jobs. 

The main aim of the study was to test if too much time spent in daycare resulted in insecure attachmnts, but analysis of these types of finding was also carried out, but there no relationship found between these finding and attachment. 

Analysis during daycare and attachment secuirty was carrout out. Found that more full time infants were classifed as insecurely attacched (47%) thah those in little/ no daycare (25%) and those with low part time care showed fewer insecure attachments than those in high part time. 

When the figures of those who were in daycare for more than 20 hours a week compared against those who spent less than 20 hours a week, some significant differences were observed. Became evident those in daycare for more than 20 hours had more insecure attachment than those less than 20 years.

Mothers of insecure attached infants showed less interpersonal sensibilty and empathy, said infants were more fussy and difficult at 9 months. Boys in full time tended to more insecure attaced to father than other boys

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Belsky and Rovine results

Findings show that in the full time daycare group, wives had the highest status jobs and the husbands had the lowest educational level, and the couples earned the most. In the mother care grroup, husbands had the highest level of education, whilst wives had the lowest status jobs. 

The main aim of the study was to test if too much time spent in daycare resulted in insecure attachmnts, but analysis of these types of finding was also carried out, but there no relationship found between these finding and attachment. 

Analysis during daycare and attachment secuirty was carrout out. Found that more full time infants were classifed as insecurely attacched (47%) thah those in little/ no daycare (25%) and those with low part time care showed fewer insecure attachments than those in high part time. 

When the figures of those who were in daycare for more than 20 hours a week compared against those who spent less than 20 hours a week, some significant differences were observed. Became evident those in daycare for more than 20 hours had more insecure attachment than those less than 20 years.

Mothers of insecure attached infants showed less interpersonal sensibilty and empathy, said infants were more fussy and difficult at 9 months. Boys in full time tended to more insecure attaced to father than other boys

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Belsky and Rovine results

Findings show that in the full time daycare group, wives had the highest status jobs and the husbands had the lowest educational level, and the couples earned the most. In the mother care grroup, husbands had the highest level of education, whilst wives had the lowest status jobs. 

The main aim of the study was to test if too much time spent in daycare resulted in insecure attachmnts, but analysis of these types of finding was also carried out, but there no relationship found between these finding and attachment. 

Analysis during daycare and attachment secuirty was carrout out. Found that more full time infants were classifed as insecurely attacched (47%) thah those in little/ no daycare (25%) and those with low part time care showed fewer insecure attachments than those in high part time. 

When the figures of those who were in daycare for more than 20 hours a week compared against those who spent less than 20 hours a week, some significant differences were observed. Became evident those in daycare for more than 20 hours had more insecure attachment than those less than 20 years.

Mothers of insecure attached infants showed less interpersonal sensibilty and empathy, said infants were more fussy and difficult at 9 months. Boys in full time tended to more insecure attaced to father than other boys

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Belsky and Rovine Conclusion

Infants in extensive care are more likely ro be insecurely attached to mothers. 

Sons in full-time care are more likely to be insecurely attached to fathers. 

More than 50% of infants in full time day care we not insecurely attached. It is improtant to ask what factors link to insecure attachments and non-maternal care besides non-maternal care itself. Factors might include mothers' feelings about their marrige and work, as well as their sensilbity and the temperament of the child. 

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Belsky and Rovine Evaluation

Strengths: The families were enrolled in the study before their infants were born, so the sample was selected before some daycare choices had been made, so the sample was less selective than others which tend to focus on families which have already made their choices regarding use of daycare. 

Other studies, such as Barglow et al. (1987) found similar results regarding 20 hours or more of daycare a week being linked to insecure attachment patterns, so there is support from other studies for these findings and conclusions.

Weaknesses: Data are relatively valid because they are measures of hours spent in daycare, however the strange situation may not be valid as a measure of attachment patters as it is often criticised for only capturing one issue- stranger fear. 

The study was of US families and infants, and although findings from Chicago back up the findings. the researchers point out that generalisisng to all cultures, with different norms and maybe different patterns of attachment, might not be suitable.

Belsky ignores the quality of care as an important factor affecting the outcome of daycare studies. As such, the study may lack validity. 

Study doesn't considers all children respond differently to childcare, some resilient others shy. 

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Reducing the negative effects of day care

Negative effects of day care include attachment problems, later adult issues/behavioural problems, poor relationships, lower intelligence. The answer should deal with reducing these effects directly, particulary when the answer is referring to stimulation/intelligence, however the effects of maternal deprivation can be applied. 

Increase staff ratio: Higher staff numbers for good ratios with children help form better subsititue care. As attachments can be formed with a key memeber of staff with whom which they can have more intense relatioship. 

Reduce staff turnover: Rotation of staff should be minimised to avoid speration from children regularly. Children can form a bond/attachment with someone if their is consistency.

Reduce time in day care: reduce time spent in daycare so that attachment/bond with main caregiver is less disrupted. Belsky and Rovine (1988) recommend less than 20 hours for young children. Less time spent in day care allows child and caregiver to maintain their relationships

Encourage earlier childcare: Sylva- EPPE study found increased time in daycare benefited some children from certain deprived backgrounds/circumstances. Children with poor cogitive ability were found to gain most in the long term from day care and the earlier they started the better. 

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Reducing the negaMelhuish! tive effects of day car

Start day care later for the child's age: Allow for early attachments to be formed before separation occurs. Beslky argues that commencment of daycare is mroe positive if for the child if they start later, after 2 years.

Use qualified staff: Staff who are trained to provide subsitute care and stimulating enviornments for children/ Swedish day care in Andersson study highlights the improtance of quality as they found positive effects on children. 

Provide stimulation etc: Early instituation studies found than unstimulating environments led to lower intelligence due to low levels of attention. stimulating enviornments are neeed which provide facilities to stretch a child's cognitive ability and encourage independence/ 

Improves sociability: Provides opportunities for positive peer interaction. Other children can also be attachment figures and older children can provide positive role models. 

Links between home and school: Robertson showed that children who spent time away from mothers suffered if there was to attempt to mititgate the procces of seperation. Parents should be encourage to bring items from home to ehlp the child cope, e.g. favourite toy 

Provide good quality care: Features such as high staff ratio/ low turnover. Melhuish! 

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Curtiss (1977): Genie, case of extreme privation

Aim: Primarily to help Genie, but also to see if a chikd of just over 13 could use language. To help Genie towards normal development or at least to improve her quaility of life. 

Procedure: Much of the data was gathered by working with and observing Genie. They were also weekly interviews with Genie's mother, but it seemed she would say what she thought social workers wanted to hear, so the detail was not relaible. Information about Genie's early life had been gathered from Genie's own behaviour and the few comments she made. There were daily doctor reports about Genie, and video tapes and tape recording were made and catalogued, becoming a rich source of data. Psychological testing was used, with ovbersvations and language tests. 

Case background: Genie was discovered in 1970. She was 13 years old and had spent her life locked in a room with nothing but a cot, potty and cotton reels to play with. Her parents neglected her and her father often bear her for making sounds. Both parents were charged with child abuse. Her mother claimed that she was a vicitim, and her father commited suicide before he was due to appear in court. Genie was subsequently fostered by researchers involved in her care at the hopsital, after funding ran out, Genie was returned to her mother, and finally general foster care. Genie was found with severe physical/intellectual retardation. She walked with a stoop and was almost entirely mute. She was under-nourished and had stunted grown. She couldn't chew normal food and often urinated in her clothes. Emotion expressed inwardly. Anger

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Curtiss (1977): Genie, case of extreme privation

Case analysis: Genie's progress in language was analysed in relation to what was thought of as the critical period for language learning. It was thought that the critical period for language development was from years old to puberty. 

At the time of Genie's study, critical period were being investigated. A problem with studying humans and critical periods was that experiment couldn't be carried out- a human couldnt' be deprived to see what the result of such deprivation might be. In Genie, though, and in the other so called feral children, there was a natural experiment. Genie had been deprived of stimualtion until puberty. If she could still learn language, then this was evidence against there being a critical period. One feature of the study is that it was claimed that the language that Genie did develop was that assoiciated with the right hemisphere of the brain. She used the right hemipshere for language and her language was abnormal.

It was  concluded that her case supported the idea of there being a critical period for 'normal' language development because she didn't learn language normally-even though she did learn some language and became able to comunicate. However , she had some interactions with others, at least early in her life and may have heard some language before the start of the study. Another issue is that she may have had learning difficulties from the start. At 5 months she was said to be normal but a paediatrician though that she might be retarded hen she was seen at 14 months. 

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Genie evaluation

Strengths: Validity: The case is rich, detailed and thorough with data including observations, interviews with the mother, doctor reports and videos, so there is validity. There are both quantitative and qualitative data that can be checked from more than one sourced, adding validity. 

Ethics: her identity was protected at the time, giver her privacy and confidentiality. though her picture is very well know and some claim that she has been identified. 

Weaknesses: V: Genie might not have developed normally in any case and there is no before data as a baseline measure to see how privation affected her.

E: there were problems. Psychologists and professionals fell out over the treatment of Genie because care for her and study of her we intermingled. researcher can be criticised for putting research ahead of the child. Although she was cared for, she was the subject of a study and was used to a great deal of questioning and testng. This could be seen as taking advantage of her situation- for example there was little mention about informed consent or RTW. Whilst it might have been hard to cover some of the issues, testing isn't something of rehabilitation entail

G: This was a single case study, Genie's experiences were very unique and there possible levels of retardation. Subsequently, it is not possible to generalise the findings beyond this case. 

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Genie evaluation

Nature-nurture: Genie's father claimed that Genie was diagnosed as being mentally slow before the age of 2. If she was retarded at birth, that might explain why the effects of her privation couldn't be reversed- this is nature. Neurological studies were conducted at the chilldren's hospital, which concluded that she showed brain acitivity similar to that of a child who had suggered retardation from birth. However, others argued that the privation caused this style of brain activity. this is nurture. 

Ethics including role of psychologists: 

The moral code and ethics of this case study are questionable as researchers were said to have put research before Genie's welfare. The researchers subjected her to over assessment that may have been an abuse of the researchers role. Taking Genie into their homes were sympathetic of the rsearcher and enabled close emotional bonds to form. The researchers put Genie's welfare before their research intersets e.g prohibiting further research. Genie was taking into care by the welfase state once funding had ceased. The publication of research into this case certainly progressed many of the researchers careers. Genie was a pseudonym so her confidentiality was maintained at the time. Over assesment may have caused Genie distress. Genie was relocated repeatedly which had a negative effect on her emotional welbeing. Being subject to therapy and regression may have been distressing. 

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Bowlby's 44 thieves (1946)

Aim: Test maternal deprivation hypothesis, whether frequent early seperations were assoicated with a risk of behavioural disorders, in particular affectionless psychopathy. Bowlby used this term to describe those who have no sense of shame or guilt, lack of social conscience

Hypothesis: Sample of juvenile thieves will have experienced mor early and prolonger sperations from their mothers within the first 5 years than a matched control group with emotional difficulties who have not commited any crimes. 


Design: retrospective study comparing experiences of proglonged seperation from mother in a group of 44 thieves and a matched control group of 44 emotional distrubted youngsters.

Sample: 44 thieves attending Tavistock Clinic, referred in a number of ways. The control group were 44 maladjusted children who didn't steal or commit other crimes but were matched for age and intelligence. All the 44 boys were attending Tavistock child guidance clinic in London. 34% of thieves were under 9 years old, 50% were under 11, only 1 of the under 11 had been charged. 75% male, 25% femlae- not representative on normal clinic intake which is normally 60% males, 40% female. Intelligence was rekatively high in both groups with avbout 1/3 above average. 

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Bowlby's 44 thieves (1946)


Unstructured interviews used to provide rich and detailed qualitative data about childhood. 

Boys completed IQ test and had psychiatric assessments for 1 hour with social worker. Information about the boys was shared with Bowlby who then interviewed boys and their mothers for 1 hour to find out about childhood experiences of seperation and effects on child relatioships. Case conferences followed and tentative diagnoses were made. Futher follow up interviews were conducted as required. Psychotherapy was provided. A checklisst to diagnose affectionless psychopathy; inability to experience emotionally intense relationships, lack of affeectionate behaviour and specific lack of guilt and remore when causing distress to others.  

Findings: 86% of thieves diagnosed as affectionless psychopaths had experinced early and prolonged separation from mothers. 

only 17% of the other thieves had experienced such separations.

4% of the control group had experienced frequent early separation comapred to 39% of all theives. 

early separations consisted on continual or repeared stays in foster homes, hospitals when the children were often not visited by their families. 

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Bowlby's 44 thieves (1946)


93% of the affectionless theives were at a high level of stealing and 56% of the presistent thieves were affectionless. 

This seemed conclusive evidence that afffectionless psychopathy can lead to stealing and more generally the suffering emotional loss of mother early in life leads to anti-scoail behaviour and emotional problems.


in depth and detailed data was gathered using different research methods, and both qualitiative and quanitiative data were gathered, so the data are likely to be valid if they agree with on another. 

There was a matched control group of children who were also in the clinic but were not theives, which provides a useful baseline measure. 

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Bowlby's 44 thieves (1946)


Generalisability: would have liked a control group of typically developing children, as control group was boys from clinic, sample is not representitive. Usually the clinic had 60% boys, 40% girls, so the sample wasn't representative of the usual intake and the gender composition of the 2 groups made the study vulnerable to accusation of gender bias

Validity: reconstructive memory, recall of events up to 14 years ago, data may not be accurate. social desirability bias, parents may not have answered questions honestly to show themselves in the better light. The study was vulnerable to researcher bis. Bowlby concluded psychiatric assessment and made the diangosis of affectionless psychopathy, He know whether the children were in the theft group or not. he finding may have been inconsciously influenced. 

Cause and effect: The research was correlational and non-experimental, for ethical reasons, no manippluation of IV, therfore no cause and effect relationship can be drawn. it cant be said that separation/deprivation causes emotional damage or affectionless psychopathy.

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Compare two key studies- genie and bowlby

Bowbly and curtiss in a way used case studies as both uses many methods within the main study

both used observations of a child's behaviour, in Curtiss case just Genie, in Bowlby's case the children in the sample. both used interviewing of the children, though Genie was hard to interviewd due to her limited understanding of language and other issues, whereas the children in Bowlbys study didn't have language problems in the main, and could understand.

Bowlby used information from parents so that he knew whether there had been maternal deprivation, but in Genie's case it was hard to get information from her mother and her father had died.

Both studies gained data retrospectively

Bowlby used some quanitiative data because he categorised the children and then counted the numbers in categories, but for most of Curtiss relied on qualitiative data about Genie's development and abilities. Both studies had validity beacuse they gathered rich and detailed data.

Bowbly generlalised from small sample that matneral deprrivation causes affectionless psychopathy, curtis generalised from one case that language doens't develop after certain age and it questionable whether such generlisations are suitable. 

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Key issue: Day care:

Day care refers to any care of a child that is not given by parents for some or all of the day. Examples are nurseries, childminding and care by relatives. Very young children can be in a day nursey from early in the morning to late a night 5 days a week, and some people think it is not good for the child. This links to the idea that parents and babies form attachments and being without a speical person who knows their needs can be very upsetting for a baby. on the otherhand, it is said that parents who jwork and are fulfilled are prephaps better and happier parents, so daycare is good thing. The debate concerns whether daycare is good for the child (happier parents, lots of stimulation and learning to be sociable) or bad for the child ( missing their main caregiver and the person who understands their needs best). It may not be that daycare is good or bad but that too much is bad or certain type are good or bad. This is what the debate it about, and it is a key issue for society. This is because society needs workers and so working mother are usefull, but it also needs well- functioning adults so early upbringing is important. 

Concepts to explain key issue: 

Eppe project

Belsky and Rovine


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