CROSS-CULTURAL VARIATIONS IN ATTACHMENT
Most psychological research has been carried out in America which means that most psychological theories are based on a group of people and it is assumed that all other people over the world will be similar. To redress the balance, psychologists look at studies conducted in different cultures. This enable them to investigate whether their theories are universal
i.e (apply to all people because they concern innate behaviours) or are culture bound (Apply only to the culture in which the research took place because the behaviour is related to cultural practice).
In increasing number of studies have measured attachment behaviours in cultureal setting outside middle-class America. The stude below for example, Strictly speaking, these are not cross-cultural studies as they do not always explicitly make comparisons between two or more different culture.
Note!!!! "Culture" is not a group of people, but is about the beliefs and customs that a group of people share, such as Child-rearing practices.
A "Subculture" is a group within a society that shares many practises and so on with the dominant culture, which also has some special, different characterstics.
(Study of Japanese children by Takahashi (1990)
- To consider whether it is appropriate to use the strange situation procedure with Japanese children
- whether the strange situation is a valid procedure for cultures other than the original one i.e (Other than American, middle class, home reared infants and their mothers).
- Participants-60 middle-class, Japanese infants, aged 1 year, both boys and girls, and their mothers, they were all raised at home.
The infants and mothers were observed in the strange situation
- 68% of infants were classified as securely attached, almost identical to the American sample
- No infants classified as avoidant-insecure
- 32% classified as resistant-insecure
When the observational data was examines in more detail the differences emerged, Japanese infants- were found to be more disturbed after being left alone. In fact the "Infant alone" step was stopped for 90% of the participants because the infants became too distressed, many more of them about 80% would have been classified as securely attached.
- Findings suggest that there are cross-cultural variations in the way infants respond to separation and being left alone. This may be due to the fact that Japanese infants experience much less separation, e.g. (They generally sleep with their mothers till the age of 2 years, and are carried around on their mothers backs and bathe with parents. They are almost never left alone). This means that the Strange situation was more then mildly stressful for the Japanese infants. This also means that the behaviours observed were reactions to extreme stress, which was not the original aim of the strange situation.
- Findings also highlight a a second cross-cultural variation-the total lack of avoidant behaviour in this sample. This can also be explained in cultural terms. Japanese are taught that such behaviour is impolite and they would be actively discouraged from it.
- Final conclusion-must be that the strange situation does not have the same meaning for the Japanese as it does for the American participants and is not.
- Research with children, especially…