Schaffer's stages of attachments


Schaffer's Stages of Attachment

  • Schaffer and Emerson aimed to investigate the formation of early attachments, in particular the age at which they developed, their emotional intensity and whom they were directed at


  • 60 babies from Glasgow, most from w/c families
  • Babies and their mothers were visited at home every month for a year and at 18 months
  • The researchers asked the mothers questions about the kind of protest their babies showed in seven everyday situations .e.g. adult leaning the room
  • This was designed to measure the infant's attachment
  • The researchers also addressed stranger anxiety


  • 50% of babies showed separation anxiety towards a particular adult between 25-32 weeks of age
  • This primary attachment was usally with the mother
  • Attachments tended to be to the caregivers who was the most interactive and sensitive to infant signals and facial expressions

Stages of attachment

  • Asocial stage:
    • First few weeks
    • Baby's beh towards inanimate objects and humans is quite similar
    • Some preference for familiar adults
    • Babies are also happier in the presence of other adults
  • Indiscriminate attachment
    • 2-7 months
    • Babies now display more observable social beh, with a preference for people rather than inanimate objects
    • They recognise and…


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