Cultural Variations in Attachment

  • Created by: April15
  • Created on: 02-02-20 13:27

Key Study: Van IJzendoorn (1988)

Aim: look at the proportions of secure, insecure-avoidant and insecure-resistant attachments across a range of countries. They also looked at the differences within the same countries to get an idea of variations within a culture

Procedure: researchers located 32 studies of attachment where the Strange Situation had been used to investigate the proportions of infants with different attachment types. They were conducted in 8 countries; 15 in the USA. Overall the 32 studies yielded results for 1,990 children the data was meta-analysed, results being combined and weighted for sample size

Findings: wide variation between proportion of attachment types in different studies. In all countries secure attachment was the most common classification. However the proportion varied from 75% in Britain to 50% in China. Insecure-resistant was overall the least common type although the proportions ranged from 3% in Britain to around 30% in Israel. Insecure-avoidant attachments observed most commonly in Germany and least common in Japan. An interesting finding was that variations between results within the same country were actually 150% greater than those between countries. In the USA, for example, one study found only 46% securely attached compared to one sample as high as 90%.

Other studies of cultural variations:

Italian study: Simonella et al (2014) in Italy to see whether the proportions of babies of different attachment types still matches those found in previous studies. Researchers assessed 76 12 month olds using the strange situation – 50% were secure, 36% insecure-avoidant. Lower rate of secure attachment than has been found in many other studies. This is apparently because increasing


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