Types of attachment: Strange Situation

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Strange Situation

Ainsworth + Bell identified three main attachment types

Secure attachment:the infant plays happily when the mother is in the room, is distressed when she leaves but is soon comforted when she returns.

Infant = happy with strangers but clearly treats them differently to the mother.

Insecure resistant attachment:the infant isn't content in the mothers company, distressed upon leaving and isn't easily comforted on her return.

Infant = both seeks and rejects mother. Resists contact with mother and stranger.

Insecure avoidant attachment: the infant ignores the mother, isn't upset whe she leaves and avoids contact when returning.

Infant = treats the mother and stranger in a similar way.


  • 9-18 month old children

this is because a child should've formed an attachment here

  • 9x9 room

it's a controlled environment in order to gather data = reliable

  • 16 squares

maintain control

  • 8 episodes

measure of certain behaviours

e.g. parent and infant play, stranger enters,


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