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Privation and Deprivation

Deprivation or (separation) occurs when the attachment bond has been formed but its broken later, child is deprived of attachment.

Privation is when a child has not formed any attachment with a significant person

Short term effects:

Robertson and Robertson and Bowlby came up with the PDD model, when the primary caregiver is away in the short term

Protest, often very intense, the child cries and experiences anger/fear

Despair, total loss of hope, the child is apathetic

Detachment, the child seems less distressed, no great interest if the caregiver reappears

Spitz and Wolf observed that 100 'normal' children who were placed in an institution became severely depressed within a few months.


Robertson and Robertson suggested that it isn't inevitable that short-term separation produces negative effects predicted by the model.

  • They looked after several young children separated from their mothers in their home
  • They ensured that the children became familiar with their surroundings beforehand
  • They provided the children with a similar daily routine and discussed their mothers 

This was successful with the children showing less distress than most separated children.

The Robertson's also studied other children who were separated and spent their time in a residential nursery. The children lacked emotional care and experienced 'bond disruption' whereas others didn't as they experienced substitute mothering.


  • Observer bias
  • Barrett said there was no evidence for the sequence of PDD
  • Individual differences ignored
  • PDD model assumes that


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