Cross-Cultural Variations in Attachments - Psychology Unit 1

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What do we mean by 'Culture'?

  • The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterises an institution, organisation or group

  • An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behaviour that depends upon the capacity from symbolic thought and social learning


Ethnocentrism: The tendency to believe that one's ethical or cultural group is centrally important, and that all other groups are measured in relation to one's own.

In what way could the Strange Situation been seen as ethnocentric?

  • Participants?

  • Researchers?

  • Conclusions?

Cross cultural variation- How do cultures differ when it comes to child care and attachments?

Child rearing practices vary considerably from place to place – environment, traditions, beliefs about children are all different depending on where in the world you are.

Does this result in different attachment patterns?

If attachment is innate, then we would imagine these behaviours would be similar.

Universal v Culturally specific

Cross Cultural studies of Attachment

Van Ijzendoorn and Kroonberg (1988) used a meta-analysis of numerous Strange Situation experiments conducted in different countries. They excluded any studies..:

  • that looked at children with special needs (e.g. Down's syndrome);

  • any study with less than 25 mother-baby pairs;

  • any study using children older than 2 years of age.

The results showed;


Secure Attachment: 75%

Resistant Attachment: 3%

Avoidant Attachment: 22%

West Germany

Secure Attachment: 57%

Resistant Attachment: 3%

Avoidant Attachment: 22%


Secure Attachment: 68%

Resistant Attachment: 27%

Avoidant Attachment: 5%

Takahashi (1990): Suggested that differences in maternal behaviour make up the 'Strange


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