Edexcel Psychology A2 - Child Psychology: Deprivation and Separation Research

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Deprivation and Separation:

· Deprivation refers to an attachment between mother and child being broken, for any length of time. Separation refers to a child and carer being apart, again for any length of time.

· One study into deprivation is by Spitz. The aim of Spitz’s study was to see what effect deprivation had on children who were institutionalised.

· The study used naturalistic observations, IQ and DQ testing and interviews in various institutions, such as hospitals and residential homes.

· It was found that children who were institutionalised rapidly became depressed, and the severity of depression increased over a three month period, from partial to severe. Children who were reunited with their attachment figure usually recovered over 2 to 3 months if partially depressed. Severe depression was much worse. The severely depressed children experienced weight loss, lack of emotion, insomnia, illness and made no attempt to move or interact with carers. If the children remained in institutions for a long period of time when severely depressed, then death could occur.

· It was concluded that deprivation had extremely severe consequences for a child, as was a lack of stimulation and interaction with carers.

ü A strength of this study is that it was conducted using naturalistic observations and a variety of other methods. This means that the data produced are likely to be valid. This is because it measures real life behaviours, which would not be manipulated due to the children being in an artificial situation.

ü Another strength is that the study continued over a relatively long period of time, so Spitz could assess the long term effects of deprivation. This means that the study is in depth and provides rich qualitative data.

r A weakness of the study is that the testing which Spitz used is seen as unreliable. This is because IQ and DQ tests are considered to be…


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