Bowlby's theory of maternal deprivation

  • Created by: kateida0
  • Created on: 18-05-18 11:06

definition-the emotional and intellectual consequences of seperation between a child and their mother or mother subsititute. Bowlby proposed that continuous care from a mother is essential for normal psychological development, and that prolonged seperation from this adult causes serious damage to emotional and intellectual development

Seperation Vs deprivation-

physical seperation only leads to deprivation when the child loses emotional care

The critical period-

the first 30 months are critical and any deprivation in this time causes psychological damage

Effects on development-

Intellectual- deprivation causes mental retardation, characterised by abnormally low IQ, e.g. Goldfarb found lower IQs in children from institutions compared to fostered children

Emotional- affectionless psychopathy, inability to experience guilt or strong emotion for others, preventing them from developing normal relationships and is associated with criminality

Bowlby's 44 thieves- examined the link between affectionless psychopathy and maternal deprivation

procedure: 44 delinquent teenagers accused of stealing, families interviewed for signs of affectionless psychopathy, compared to control of non-criminal but emotionally disturbed young people


  • 14 of 44 could be described as affectionless psychopaths, of these 12 had experienced  prolonged seperation from mothers in first…


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