Cultural limitations of ‘Strange Situations’ – Ainsworth.
Cross cultural studies are those carried out in more than one culture in order to compare findings.
Ainsworth’s work in Uganda:
· Ainsworth studied 26 families and observed the interactions, watching mother-child relationships.
· She also interviewed the mothers and gathered data about the mother’s sensitivity.
· She found that the mothers who knew a lot about their babies when interviewed were sensitive to their infant’s needs.
- They tended to have children that were securely attached, in that they did not cry much and used their mother as a secure base from which to explore.
- In contrast, less sensitive mothers had children who cried more and did not explore as much.
Ainsworth’s work in Baltimore:
· 26 families were observed, following each family from birth of the child through the first year.
· Naturalistic observations were used, looking at such issues as face-to-face interactions, responsiveness to crying and physical needs, feeding and close bodily contact.
· The observations took place in the family home, but the final observation involved the mother and child going to a laboratory to take part in the strange situations procedure, which was devised for that purpose.
· The main focus of the study was the pattern of interactions in the home and conclusions about the sensitivity of the mother related to the attachment type of the child.
· Most of the focus was on the results from the strange situations procedure, tending to overshadow the evidence about the mother’s responsiveness.
Comparing Uganda and Baltimore:
· The general conclusion was that securely attached infants used their mothers as a secure base from which to explore and had sensitive mothers, whereas insecurely attached infants cried more, explored less and had less sensitive mothers.
· If this was found in 2 different cultures, there may be a biological basis for such attachment types when linked to parenting style and maybe this was true for all cultures.
· If there were differences in attachment types linked to parenting styles in different cultures, then the links may have come from nurture and the differences in the environment.
Other cross-cultural studies of attachment types:
GERMANY: Grossman et al.
- Used the strange situations procedure.
- More avoidant attachment types were found than in the Baltimore.
JAPAN: Miyake et al.
- Found more ambivalent types.
ISRAEL (Kibbutzim): Sagi et al.
- Found more ambivalent…