2 Attachment TheoryBowlby viewed infants attachment to a caregiver as a mechanism that evolved to protect infants from predators.According to ethological theory, infants and babies are biologically predispose to become attached to each other.Attachment is a deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space (Ainsworth 1973, Bowlby 1969)
3 Attachment TheoryAttachment does not have to be reciprocal. One person may have an attachment with an individual which is not shared. Attachment is characterized by specific behaviors in children, such as seeking proximity with the attachment figure when upset or threatened (Bowlby, 1969).Attachment behavior in adults towards the child includes responding sensitively and appropriately to the child’s needs. Such behavior appears universal across cultures. Attachment theory provides an explanation of how the parent-child relationship emerges and influences subsequent development.
4 Attachment TheoryJohn Bowlby (1958) considered the importance of the child’s relationship with their mother in terms of their social, emotional and cognitive development. Looked at link between early infant separations with the mother and later maladjustment.Bowlby defined attachment as a “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings” (1969, p.194).Bowlby (1958) proposed that attachment can be understood within an evolutionary context in that the caregiver provides safety and security for the infant. Attachment is adaptive as it enhances the infant’s chance of survival.
5 Attachment TheoryAttachment is a deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space Ainsworth, 1973; Bowlby, 1969).Attachment does not have to be reciprocal. One person may have an attachment with an individual which is not shared. Attachment is characterized by specific behaviors in children, such as seeking proximity with the attachment figure when upset or threatened (Bowlby, 1969).Attachment behavior in adults towards the child includes responding sensitively and appropriately to the child’s needs. Such behavior appears universal across cultures. Attachment theory provides an explanation of how the parent-child relationship emerges and influences subsequent development.
6 Attachment Theory It’s innate (Lorenz & Harlow offer support) It has a critical time period to develop (one primary attachment figure for up to age ) (disputed)Child develops internal working model of worldA cognitive schemaIf attachment is not formed, problems may develop latter in life (disputed)
7 Attachment TheoryBabies seek proximity to mother and react with anxiety to separation from her.” (Bowlby, 1973)It’s emotional: negative emotional influences later life if attachment is not formed within critical time period (birth to age 2 years old) (LO 6)It’s universal: evolutionary advantages for babies to bound with mothersIt does not have to be the mother, but Bowlby felt needed to be one personThe central theme of attachment theory is that mothers who are available and responsive to their infant's needs establish a sense of security.The infant knows that the caregiver is dependable, which creates a secure base for the child to then explore the world & establishes a bases for future relationshipsThis cognitive schema is called an internal working model
8 Attachment TheoryIf child experiences love and affection, the child sees itself as worthy of love and attentionFuture relationships will be based on thisIf the child experiences rejection, abuse or neglect, may base their working model on denialThey deserve to be unloved(Learning Outcome 6)Internal Working Models are reproduced in later relationships
9 Attachment TheoryInternal working model: child forms internal mental representations of attachment relationships of their first attachment relationship (Schema theory!!)Motivation for attachment is biological, but process is based on experienceThe cognitive schema of attachment:Ideas about attachment figures and what to expect of themIdeas about selfIdeas of how self and others relate
10 Attachment TheoryIf child experiences love and affection, the child sees itself as worthy of love and attentionFuture relationships will be based on thisIf the child experiences rejection, abuse or neglect, may base their working model on denialThey deserve to be unlovedInternal Working Models are reproduced in later relationships
11 Modifications to Attachment Theory MATERNAL SENSITIVITYStudies indicate that the sensitivity of the mother plays a role in the development of attachmentBrazleton, 1975: observational studies of mothers and babiesFound interactional synchrony: where mothers and babies imitate each others emotional expressionsWhen researchers requested mothers ignore babies signals – babies became upset
12 Modifications to Attachment Theory THE INFANT’S TEMPERAMENTKagen, 1982: Temperaments are genetic dispositions to respond to the environment in certain waysOn a spectrum from highly reactive to low reactivityMost cultures will influence (push) babies to certain parts of this spectrumKagen would say this is the cause of different behavior in Ainsworths strange situation
13 Modifications to Attachment Theory ATTACHMENT MAY BE TO MANYSchaffer & Emerson (1964) specific attachments started at about 8 monthsBy 18 months very few (13%) were attached to only one person; some had five or more attachmentsAt age 8 months, babies can distinguish between primary attachments (mom & dad) and secondary attachments (others)Probably due to brain development – visual system becoming capable of making fine distinctions
14 Modifications to Attachment Theory ATTACHMENT CAN OCCUR LATERBowlby says attachment has a critical time period – short, fixed, & early period like imprintingMichael Rutter: Not fixedattachment can happen later in lifeHodges & Tizard, 1989: found that children who had not formed attachment behavior at age 4 – when adopted, later did form attachment behavior
15 Characteristics of Attachment Behavior Attachment TheoryCharacteristics of Attachment BehaviorThe child strives to stay near the caregiver, thus keeping the child safe. (Proximity Maintenance)The child returns to the attachment figure for comfort & safety in times of distress. (Safe Haven)Reacting with distress when separated from attachment figure (separation distress) &The caregiver provides a secure and dependable base for the child to explore the world. (Secure Base)
16 Attachment TheorySeparation Distress: Kagen, 1978: When separated from the caregiver, the child will become upset and distressed. Develops around 6 – 8 months & last until about 3 years of ageCultural influence:Collectivist cultures: Lots of adults – this period is not as intense or long
17 Attachment: Individual Differences Attachment is not an ‘all or nothing’ processThere may be variations, or individual differences between children in the attachments they formThere are different types of attachment: Secure vs. Insecure
18 Ainsworth & Bell (1970)Controlled observation of children’s attachment behaviour using the ‘Strange Situation Classification’ (SSC):Mother leaves child in unfamiliar environmentChild is approached by strangerMother returnsLooks at separation protest, stranger anxiety and reunion behaviour
20 Ainsworth & Bell (1971) Three patterns of attachment: Secure (70% of sample)Insecure – avoidant (15%)Insecure – resistant (15%)Ainsworth suggested that attachment type was determined by primary carer’s (mother’s) behaviour and how sensitive the carer is to the child’s needs
22 Secure Attachment Associated with sensitive & responsive primary care Distressed when mother leftPositive & happy when mother returnedAvoidant of stranger when alone but friendly when mother presentWill use the mother as a safe base to explore their environmentAssociated with sensitive & responsive primary careCharacteristic of 70% of infants
23 Avoidant Attachment Characteristic of 15% of infants No sign of distress by mother’s absenceShowed little interest when she returnedInfant okay with stranger and plays normally when stranger is presentStranger will be treated similar to the mother (does not seek contact).Mother & stranger are able to comfort infant equally wellMothers tend to be insensitive or not interested in childrenResearch has suggested that this attachment style might be a result of abusive or neglectful caregivers.Characteristic of 15% of infants
24 Resistant Attachment Characteristic of 15% of infants Intensely distressed when mother leftApparent fear of stranger – and avoids strangerClinginess mixed with rejection on return may approach mother but may resist contact (or even push her away)Fear of exploration (insecure behaviour) and cries moreResearch suggests that ambivalent attachment is a result of poor maternal availability. These children cannot depend on their mother (or caregiver) to be there when the child is in needCharacteristic of 15% of infants
25 Secure Avoidant Resistant Primary Carer’s Behaviour Towards Child Child’s ‘Working Model’ of ItselfPositive & LovedUnloved & RejectedAngry & ConfusedSecureAvoidantResistant
26 Evaluation of Ainsworth Does not take babies experience into accountBabies that spend a lot of time with lots of adults may appear to be avoidantMost children form a secure attachment to their mothers – LeVine, 2006Time spent in day care does NOT correlate to attachment!!! A BIG issue even today!!Wartner, 1994: The strange situation classification has good reliability.A study conducted in Germany found 78% of the children were classified in the same way at ages 1 and 6 years
27 Evaluation of Ainsworth Lacks Validity – Lamb, (1977): it identifies only the type of attachment to the mother.The child may have a different type of attachment to the father or grandmother, for exampleLamb, 1985: highly artificial & limited in the amount of informationCultural considerations – Japanese babies are rarely separated from mothers
28 Cultural Factors There are cultural differences: Ijzendoorn & Kroonenberg, (1988): meta analysisJapan: absence of Avoidant, lots of ResistantSecure attachment – most dominate worldwideBased on childrearing styles
29 Factors that promote insecure attachment: Abandonment & deprivation in the first two years of lifeParenting that is abusive, neglectful, or erraticChilds own temperamentStressful circumstances of the family
31 Bowlby’s 44 ThievesAim:To investigate the effects of maternal deprivation on children in order to see whether delinquents have suffered deprivation.According to the Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis, breaking the maternal bond with the child during the early stages of its life is likely to have serious effects on its intellectual, social and emotional development.
32 Bowlby’s 44 Thieves Procedure: Bowlby interviewed 44 adolescents who were referred to a child protection program in London because of stealing- i.e. they were thieves.Bowlby selected another group of 44 children to act as ‘controls’- individuals referred to clinic because of emotional problems, but not yet committed any crimes.He interviewed the parents from both groups to state whether their children had experienced separation during the critical period and for how long. (do you see any problems with this?)
33 Bowlby’s 44 Thieves Findings: More than half of the juvenile thieves had been separated from their mothers for longer than 6 months during their first five years.In the control group only 2 had had such a separation.He also found several of the young thieves (32%) showed 'affectionless psychopathy' (they were not able to care about or feel affection for others).None of the control group were affectionless psychopaths.
34 Bowlby’s 44 Thieves Conclusion: Affectionless psychopaths show little concern for others and are unable to form relationships.Bowlby concluded that the reason for the anti-social behavior and emotional problems in the first group was due to maternal deprivation.
35 Hodges & Tizard, (1989) Aims: To investigate the effect of institutional upbringing on later attachments.To investigate the effects of privation on later social and emotional development.To investigate if the effects of privation can be reversed
36 Hodges & Tizard, (1989)Procedure:Followed the development of 65 children who had been in residential nurseries from only a few months old. A longitudinal study, semi-experimental design – a naturalistic observationThe care provided was of good quality, but care givers were discouraged from forming attachments with the children (i.e. privation occurred). ETHICS!!By age 4, 24 children were adopted, 15 returned to their natural home (restored), and the rest stayed in institutionsThey were also compared with a control group, who had spent all their lives in their own families. The control group was closely matched to the children in the experimental group.The children were assessed for social and emotional competence at 4, 8 and 16 years old. The assessment comprised interviewing the children and their parents and teachers and a set of questionnaires.
37 Hodges & Tizard, (1989) - Findings AdoptedRestored4 YearsNo Attachment8 YearsNormal AttachmentPoor Attachment16 YearsOnly 50% ‘deeply’ attachedConclusion:We can conclude from this evidence that Bowlby was correct to emphasize the importance of the early years, but the effects of delay in the formation of attachments do not necessarily persist into adulthood and lead to affectionless psychopathy, as Bowlby predicted.Indeed, loving relationships and high quality care are necessary to reverse privation effects.
38 Subsequent formation of relationships Attachment and it’s relationship to adult romantic love (our internal working models)Hazan & Shaver, 1987:Aim: Wanted to explore relationship between attachment theory & romantic loveAttachment theory might be able to explain both positive & negative experiences of loveAssumptions: Adult attachment behavior is reflected in:Beliefs about self, others, & relationshipsTheir inner working modelHazen & Shaver’s love quiz – based on 3 attachment styles
39 Subsequent formation of relationships Participants: self-selecting – 620 (2/3rds female)60% secure style20 % anxious ambivalent style20% anxious-avoidant styleSelf description of parents by participants correlated with love quiz resultsLots of criticism on method & samplingTry the ‘Romantic Attachment Style’ Quiz:
40 6.4 Effects of Deprivation or Trauma on later development A child reared in a severely deprived setting will not experience factors such as access to adequate nutrition, sensory and cognitive stimulation, loving caregivers and linguistic input. However – this does NOT mean the child will not develop normally.Deprivation: living in a state of neglect tp provide basic needs. Often connected with growing up in poverty, parental problems or institutionalisationTrauma: can be experienced in childhood (eg divorce, war, natural disasters, sexual abuse) and can have long-lasting effects on development.It is difficult to distinguish between effects of deprivation or trauma – they are much the same.
41 6.4 Effects of Trauma on later development PTSD – left untreated, can show in children as hyper-vigilance, agitation, avoidance behaviours and emotional numbness.Carion et al (2009) – fMRI scans found children suffering PTSD after experiencing stressors such as abuse or witnessing violence performed worse on a simple verbal memory test and showed less hippocampal activity. Also exhibited specific PTSD symptoms. They also had problems remembering the trauma, felt isolated and had impaired emotions.Yehuda et al (2001) – studied 51 children of Holocaust survivors who were raised by traumatised parents. Mean age: 40.9 years. Results show children of Holocaust survivors more likely to develop PTSD (33.3% compared to 12.2% of control group) Showed PTSD can be transmitted from parent to child.
42 6.4 Effects of Deprivation on later development Rutter, (2001): longitudinal study on Romanian institutionally-reared children who were later adopted into UK homes compared to UK institutionally-reared children who were later adoptedThree areas of differences:Greater # of Romanian children with attachment problems (avoidant attachment)Greater over activity & cognitive impairmentShowed “near autistic features”
43 6.4 Effects of Deprivation or Trauma on later development Rutter, 2001: (continued)Age of adoption a factor – the older when child left orphanage, more problemsBut by age six, most children were normal in their functioningMost children are resilient!!!Koluchova, 1971: Czech twin boysLongitudinal case studyTurned out ok – counter to Genie