Sie sind auf Seite 1von 8

Attachment revision notes

Main research method for attachment = observation

Attachment = an emotional tie/relationship between two people shown by their behaviour, e.g. between an
infant and their caregiver. The emotional bond goes both ways.
We can see attachment through:
o Seeking proximity
o Distress on separation
o Joy at reunion
o Orientation of behaviour
Ethology The study of animal behaviour
Imprinting Phase sensitive learning of infant to caregiver
Critical period If an attachment is not formed during this time, no attachment may occur at all
Konrad Lorenz:
o took 3 goose eggs away from mother
o incubated them
o when they hatched they saw him first and imprinted on him
o They followed him around
o The other goslings who had been hatched normally followed natural mother while the others
followed him around after being hatched in an incubator
We form attachments because:
o We rely on others
o Humans have adapted to survive in groups (adaptive)
o You grow up around people so learn to form attachments
o Find comforts in others
o Common interests
o Intellectual, Physical, Social development (learning social norms)
Classical conditioning learning through association (Ian Pavlov)
o UCS unconditioned stimulus
o UCR unconditioned response
o CS conditioned stimulus
o CR Conditioned response
Before conditioning UCS (food) produces UCR(salvation)
During conditioning Food and door opening occur together a number of times
After conditioning CS(door opening) produces CR(salvation)
Food naturally produces a sense of pleasure. The person who feeds infant become primary associated with
Feeder produces pleasure associated with food pleasure = CS
This association between individual + pleasure = attachment bond
Before conditioning UCS = food, primary reinforcer UCR = pleasure/comfort
During conditioning Baby cries for attention, over time baby associates caregiver with pleasure rather than
the food
After conditioning CS is caregiver = primary reinforcer, CR is infant stops crying + pleased
Operant conditioning theory by Skinner
o Learning through rewards + punishment
o Every time youre rewarded or punished, behaviour = stamped in

o More likely to repeat good behaviour

Dollard and Miller = explanation based on conditioning
o Suggested when infant is fed = feeling of pleasure
o Pleasure = rewarding
o Food = primary reinforcer as it stamps in behaviour
o Caregiver = secondary reinforcer = reward in own right
o Attachment = child seeks reward from secondary caregiver
o Infant stays with mother, more likely to survive so any attachment traits = naturally selected
o Enhance an individual to survive = genes appear in future
o Variations = naturally selected by animals surviving to reproduce
o Reproduction = key for genetic variation to be passed on
o Explains how changes occur
o New generation shows variation from previous one
Bowlbys attachment theory:
o Neglect
o Abuse
o Death
o Divorce
o Moving a lot
o Adoption/foster care
o Parents in prison
o Day-care
Affects in future:
o Show bad behaviour
o Addiction passed on
o Difficulty with social skills
o Difficulty showing emotion
o Difficulty trusting
o Commitment issues
o Self-management
Maternal deprivation hypothesis: children should experience a warm, intimate and continuous relationship
with their mother/mother substitute in which both find satisfaction and enjoyment
Bowlby said children who experience maternal deprivation might suffer permanent long term emotional
Baby Face Hypothesis: infants show characteristics e.g. little paws/hands/feet, big forehead, blue eyes, cute
triggers adults wanting to take care of child = adaptive
o Separation not as important as Bowlby said
o Disruption = more damaging e.g. divorce
o Disagree with Bowlby there is main attachment, says there can be multiple
o Adaptive gives species adaptive advantage making us more likely to survive, if infant = attached to
caregiver, they kept safe, given food, warm
o Social Releasers unlock innate tendency of adults to care for infant, physical; baby face,
behavioural; crying, wailing
o Critical Period have to form attachment within a certain amount of time or will not bond well in
later life can be damaged, socially, physically, emotionally, intellectually

Evaluating Bowlbys theory

+ Massively influential in our understanding of emotional development
+ It is considered dominant explanation
+ Links to imprinting imprinting during critical period = mechanism for survival (adaptive)
+ Passed critical period = more difficult to form initial attachment
Strange Situation
o Developed by Mary Ainsworth 1969
o Influenced Bowlbys thinking
o Way of observing types of attachment
o Stress and novel situation for infant
o Tests stranger anxiety, separation anxiety
o Infant encouraged to explore tests secure base concept
o Shows quality of attachment
o Behaviour assessed every 15 secs
o Score the behaviour on scale 1-7
Proximity + contact seeking behaviour
Contact maintaining behaviour
Proximity and interaction avoiding behaviour
Contact and interaction resisting behaviour
Search behaviours

Strange Situation
Parent and infant play
Parent sits while infant plays
Stranger enters and talks to parent
Parent leaves, infant plays stranger offers comfort if
Parent returns greets infant, stranger leaves
Parent leaves, infant alone
Stranger enters and offers comfort
Parent return, greet and comforts infant

Behaviour assessed
Use of parent as secure base
Stranger anxiety
Separation anxiety
Reunion behaviour
Separation anxiety
Stranger anxiety
Reunion behaviour

Attachment types:
o Secure;
harmonious cooperative attachment with caregiver
willingness to explore
high strange anxiety
separation anxiety easy to soothe distressed on separation
enthusiastic when reunited
o Insecure avoidant;
Anxious style of attachment avoid intimacy and social interaction
In SS show little response to separation
Not proximity seeking on reunion
When picked up not resistant to be put down
Indifferent behaviour
Happy to explore with or without caregiver

Insecure resistant
Seek and reject intimacy and social interaction
Show immediate and intense distress on separation
Upon reunion conflicting desires for + against contact
May angrily resist being picked up
Have other means for seeking proximity
o Insecure disorganised
Lack of consistent patterns of social behaviour
Changeable behaviour showing outward signs of strong attachment to resisting caregiver
Lack coherent strategy for dealing with stress of separation
Evaluating types of attachment
+ Reliable: results are consistent, Ainsworth used inter-rater reliability
+ Prior and Glaser: secure attachment = positive outcomes (less emotional dependence, high
achievement orientation). Avoidant attachment = aggressiveness + other negative behaviour.
Resistant attachment = anxiety and withdrawn behaviour. Disorganised attachment = hostility and
+ Hazan and Shaver: love quiz, classified attachment type and current love experiences
Ethical issues: unnecessary distress to infant?
Ainsworth, maternity sensitivity scale; rated mothers behaviours and strength of attachment
showed maternal reflective thinking as opposed to behaviour that affects attachment type
Slade et al. = more important for mothers to understand what the infants were thinking and feeling;
maternal reflective functioning
Sensitivity = attachment type depends on how sensitive the mother is to the infants needs
Cultural variations in attachment

Name of researchers



Findings and

Van Ijzendoorn and

Kroonenberg (1988)

US, China, Japan,

Israel, Sweden,
Netherlands, GB,
West Germany

Fox (1977)


Meta analysis,
compared results
from many different
studies (2000) from
SS with nurse and
mother taking turns
to be primary
caregiver, children
from boarding school

Grossman and
Grossman (1991)



Takahashi (1990)


SS on 60 mid class
infants + mothers

Secure attachment
are norm, insecure
avoidant = 2nd most
common bar Israel
and Japan
Infants = equally
attached to mother
and nurse, except on
reunion = more
attached to mother
Shows mother =
primary attachment
Infants mostly
insecure attachment
Children being
Rejects Bowlby as
secure attachment
type is not the ideal
Similar rates of
secure attachment to

Validity, reliability,
experimental design
Reliable same
results from zoo

Reliable = high
Ethical issues
Order effects?

High reliability
Poor ethics

Unreliable as 90%
left when infant was

Ainsworths study
Infants showed no
evidence of Insecure
avoidant, high rates
of insecure resistant
Distressed when

Evaluating cultural variations in attachment:

Rothbaum et al. argued that attachment theory and research is not relevant to other cultures as it is
based on USA culture




The sensitivity hypothesis

The more loving and caring
the mother is the stronger
the relationship between
caregiver and infant and
had to be intimate and
sensitive to infants needs
This Bowlby believed was

Rothbaum et al. argues that

only western societies and
the idea of autonomy
(personal independence)
whereas Japanese culture is
different and promotes
dependence. This suggests
sensitivity has opposite
objectives in the two

The continuity hypothesis

The continuity hypothesis is
connected to the internal
working model, whereby
infants form a mental
schema based on their
relationship with the
primary caregiver. This is
used as a model for all
future relationships. Infants
who are more securely
attached develop into more
competent adults
In US: socially and
emotionally competent
individuals show secure
attachments and can
explore and regulate ones
own emotions
In Japan: competence is
opposite to western
cultures not expressing
emotions and group
focused behaviour is valued
rather than self-focused

The secure base hypothesis

In US: providing infant with
base to explore and become
more independent

In Japan relationships are

dependence oriented
(amae depend on anothers
love) behaviours seem
typical of amae
relationships are classified
as insecure resistant
(Ijzendoorn and

Disruption of attachment
Laura 2 years old, in hospital for 8 days, infrequent visits from parents, alternates between periods
of calm and distress. Begged to go home.
Robertsons 17 months old, separated for 9 days, in a residential nursery, normal for 2 days, day 3;
lack of attention from nurses and could not compete with more assertive children, begins to
withdraw, day 4; seeks comfort in oversized teddy, stops talking to father as much, stops eating and
drinking, response to mother; screams, struggles, tried to get away from her for several months
Jane, Lucy, Kate, Thomas under 3 years, spent 3 weeks with Robertsons, similar routines to home,
care given; emotional, sensitive to their needs, formed good attachment with Robertsons, slept well,
did not reject mother when reunited, reluctance to part with foster mother
Evaluation of disruption of attachment
+ Skeels and Dye (1939): orphaned children who scored a low level on an IQ test were put into a home
for mentally ill. It was found that those who were transferred actually increased their score on an IQ
test why? It is believed that a higher level of emotional care was given to those at the home, to
those at the orphanage
+ Skodak and Skeels (1949): They replicated the above study and found the same things

Bohman and Sigvardsson (1979): Studied 600+ children (11 years), 26% = problem children, 10 years
later none of them were any worse off than the rest of the population therefore early negative
effects were reversed but not all the time can the negative effects be reversed
Bifulco et al. (1992): found women who lost their mother under 17 years were more likely to suffer
anxiety and depressive disorders = early disruptions can lead to problems in adult life
Barrett (1997): studied cases that showed securely attached children coped reasonably well with
separation. Insecurely attached children became distressed
Bowlby (1960): Studied 60+ children under 4 who had TB and were separated from parents during
stay at hospital. During adolescence these children were 63% more maladjusted but there was no
difference intellectually.
Privation (failure to form attachment)
Institutionalised children
Hodges and Tizard
Followed 65 british children from earl life to adolescence
Had been put on institution since under 4 months
Had not formed attachment when put in home
Caretakers encouraged not to form bonds
Therefore they probably suffered early emotional privation
Showed less social adjustment
They were assessed at regular intervals until 16 years
Some were adopted, some stayed in orphanage, some went back (restored) to
original families
Restored children were less likely to have formed attachments
adopted children formed better attachments with adoptive parents, than restored
Both groups had problems showed signs of disruptive attachment
Romanian orphanages
Rutter et al. studied 100 Romanian orphans and assessed them at 4, 6 and 11
Children adopted by british families before 6 months showed more normal
emotional development than UK orphans adopted at the same age
Shows long-term consequences are less severe when given the opportunity to form
attachments but when attachments are not formed consequences can be severe
Poor parenting
Harlows monkeys support Quinton et al.
Quinton et al. Compared 50 women who had been raised normally
When the women were in their 20s those who had been in institutions had more
difficulties being parents. They had children who spent more time in care
Deprivation dwarfism
Children in institutional care, normally physically smaller, sure to lack of emotional
care called dwarfism
Girl had to be fed through tube, so mother avoided too much physical contact in
case she accidently removed tube at 8 months she was withdrawn and had to be
admitted to hospital and after having attention lavished upon her she improved
Gardner suggested emotional disturbance could affect growth hormones
Privation is only one factor
Evidence suggests infants who dont form a primary attachment within critical
period and are unable to recover show signs of disinhibited attachment

Not necessarily true of all infants experiencing privation as 1/3 Romanian orphans
recovered well
Privation or rejection
We cannot be sure that the later negative effects were not due to other extraneous
factors e.g. feelings of rejection
Such as in the Hodges and Tizard study
They may have actually formed attachments
Long term effects
Unknown extent of effects of institutionalisation
Romanian study showed at 11 years a lower number of children with disinhibited
Hodges and Tizard = too difficult to recontact large enough group of the children as
Possible ex-institutional children simply need more time to mature sufficiently to
form attachments
If given right care, they probably can recover
Effects of privation:
Disinhibited attachment
Intellectual under functioning
Poor parenting
Mental disorder
Physical underdevelopment
Little long term effects
Isolated children
Locked in room by father until 13.5 years because he thought she was retarded
When found, could not stand straight, could not speak
Never fully recovered socially
Disinterested in people
Lack of recovery potentially due to early privation
May be due to late age of discovery
Czech twins
First 7 years of life locked up by stepmother
When discovered, couldnt talk
Cared for by two sisters after discovery
By 14 normal intellect + social functioning
By 20 above average intellect and good relationships with foster family
Possible discovered at young enough age to recover
Each individual has unique characteristics
Unknown if Genie was retarded since birth, may not have formed attachment with
Czech twins may have formed important attachments with each other
Day Care
Form of temporary care not all day and all night that is not provided by parents and usually takes
place outside of the house
EPPE (effective provision of pre-school education)
Longitudinal study in Europe
Ages 3-7

3000 children took part

Study of child development
Looked into (background and home environment and day care experience
Day care = local authority day nurseries, private day nurseries, nursery schools
Sample of home children used (no or minimal day care) for comparison
Children who spent longer in day care showed more anti-social behaviour e.g.
disobedience aggressiveness
Mostly from local authority + private day nurseries (had more children under 2)
If day care was high quality impact was reduced
Social interaction is important
Good care provides plenty of social interaction
Children in day care more likely to be insecurely attached
NICHD study (National institute of child health and human development)
USA began longitudinal study in 1991
Studied many aspects of child development
1000 children (over 10 different locations) involved
Assessed (kids and parents) at regular intervals to establish the effects of day care on
childrens development
When cohort studied age 5 data showed the more time the child spent in day care, the
more aggressive and disobedient they were rated by adults
Children in day care were 3x more likely to show behavioural issues than those cared for at
Behaviour included, arguing, tantrums, lying, hitting, and unpredictable conduct
Shows day care in a negative light
Attachment (peer relations)
Secure attachment is linked to better peer relations
Minnesota longitudinal study found securely attached infants tended to be more popular
Children in day care are less likely to be securely attached e.g. Belsky and Rovine assessed
attachment using SS in infants whod been receiving 20 hours or more of day care a week,
before they were one. These infants were more likely to be insecurely attached compared to
children at home
150 children
Those in day care were more advanced in their social development than children who stayed
at home
Advances in social development, independence and compliance
Social strategies
Day care enables children to learn and develop social strategies e.g. ability to negotiate and
make friends
Field (1991) showed time spent in day care was positively correlated to the number of
friends the children had when they went to school
Krepes and Vernon children in day care under 6 moths were more sociable than those who
started later