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Child Psychology Bowlby and attachment. Social and Emotional Development in Infancy - ATTACHMENT.

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Presentation on theme: "Child Psychology Bowlby and attachment. Social and Emotional Development in Infancy - ATTACHMENT."— Presentation transcript:

1 Child Psychology Bowlby and attachment

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3 Social and Emotional Development in Infancy - ATTACHMENT

4 From birth…figuring things out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjXi6X- moxEhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjXi6X- moxE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKvAo FvMEF0http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKvAo FvMEF0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP4abi HdQpchttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP4abi HdQpc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4S5ub0 ut34Ihttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4S5ub0 ut34I

5 Understanding Attachment How do babies and their care-givers form attachments? The MOST important thing for babies to do is to get their care-giver to love them They seem to be designed to do just that Consider the previous videos and your reaction to them!!!

6 Why do we form attachments? Born unable to fend for ourselves Innate – both infant and caregiver Evolution – survival of species “Internal working model” for later attachments “Anti-incest” device

7 Who was Bowlby Bowlby was a psychoanalysis followed the ideas of Freud infant was strongly affected by the first few years of his or her life. He was looked after by a nanny, sent to boarding school and believed these experiences influenced his views on attachment theory.

8 Quote from Bowlby “Mother love in infancy and childhood is as important for mental health as are vitamins and proteins for physical health.” Bowlby, 1953

9 Attachment promotes survival: Babies’ smiles are powerful things leaving mothers spellbound and enslaved. Who can doubt that the baby who most readily rewards his mother with a smile is the one who is best loved and best cared for?’

10 How? Safety…mother and baby attached and close to one another Safe base….baby can wander and explore Internal working model…. “prototype” for later relationships

11 John Bowlby (1907-1990) Commissioned by the WHO to study the children of post-war Europe Children: –were evacuated for lengthy periods of time –some lost parents during the war –others were separated from their mothers

12 John Bowlby................. He interviewed and observed children in hospitals and institutions to understand the impact of parent-child separation on children. Found: –Child’s mental health was dependent upon a warm and continuous loving bond between caregiver and child. –Children separated from their parents suffered a broken attachment that caused depression and difficulty forming close relationships with others.

13 Evolutionary basis to attachment Bowlby’s considered many other theories in addition to psychodynamic ideas, including Konrad Lorenz’s (1952) ethological studies. Ethology is the study of animals in their natural setting.

14 Lorenz’s findings about imprinting

15 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2 UIU9XH-mUI Lorenz had noticed that animals such as ducks and geese, when hatched, followed the first moving object they saw, which was usually their mother. By following their mother, (called imprinting) they were more likely to survive. Ethological studies like Lorenz (1952) showed how animals use imprinting as a survival mechanism. This suggested to Bowlby that at attachment process in humans had the same purpose and is important for an infant’s development.

16 Imprinting Bowlby thought that human infants must have a similar ‘attachment’ instinct that would ensure survival, he proposed an evolutionary basis of attachment. Any behaviour or characteristic that aids survival will mean an organism survives to reproduce its genes, so a behaviour or characteristic will be passed on through genes.

17 Evolution Any behaviour that goes against survival means that an organism will not survive to reproduce its genes and that behaviour will die out. This is SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST Bowlby maintained that infants are biologically programmed to form attachments. Separation, insecurity or fear would trigger the instinct to keep a baby close to its mother and the mother too has an instinct to form an attachment with the baby.

18 Main features of Bowlby’s theory of attachment A child has an innate need to form an attachment with one person. This special attachment to one person is called monotropy. This strong relationship with one person should continue unbroken for the first two years of life if adverse effects are to be avoided. The maternal deprivation hypothesis holds that a broken attachment (or lack of an attachment) leads to problems for the child with relationships on reaching adulthood. Broken attachment leads to delinquency and affectionless psychopathy. Attachment provides a safe haven for when the child is afraid and a secure base fro which to explore the world. Separation distress/anxiety serves to draw the attachment figure back to the infant and is a survival mechanism.

19 Evidence for importance of attachments http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsA5Sec 6dAI

20 Harlow’s study of monkeys and attachments Harlow and his colleagues studies rhesus monkeys. Harlow and Zimmerman (1959) infant monkeys who had been removed from their mothers were the focus of the study. One set of infants was allowed access to a towel-covered wire ‘monkey’ as well as a food-giving wire ‘monkey’. Other monkeys could only access the food-giving wire ‘monkey’. Those monkeys who could get comfort from the towel-covered ‘monkey’ did so, and at the end of the study were better adjusted physically and mentally. Harlow concluded that comfort was important for the developing monkey and not food alone that connects mother and infant. His research linked to the idea that attachment was part of the mother-infant relationship for monkeys. Bowlby used this as evidence that this was true for human children as well.

21 Robertson’s naturalistic observation 1948 – James Robertson was employed by Bowlby to make careful observations in hospitals or institutions. Robertson had worked with Anna Freud in her residential children’s home taking detailed notes about the children’s behaviour.

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23 A two year old goes to hospital If going to hospital means losing the care of the mother, the young child will fret for her -- no matter how kind the doctors, nurses, and play ladies. This film classic, made in 1952, drew attention to the plight of young patients at a time when visiting by parents was severely restricted. Laura, aged 2, is in hospital for 8 days to have a minor operation. She is too young to understand her mother's absence. Because her mother is not there and the nurses change frequently, she has to face the fears, frights and hurts with no familiar person to cling to. She is extremely upset by a rectal anesthetic. Then she becomes quiet and 'settles'. But at the end of her stay she is withdrawn from her mother, shaken in her trust.

24 A two year old goes to hospital In recent years there have been great changes in children's wards, partly brought about by this film. But many young children still go to hospital without the mother, and despite the “play ladies” and volunteers the depth of their distress and the risks to later mental health remain an insufficiently recognized problem. This film study of typical emotional deterioration in an unaccompanied young patient, and of the subtle ways in which she shows or conceals deep feelings of distress, remains as vivid and relevant as when it was made

25 Observations Robertson observed that children deprived of their attachment figure went through 3 stages: 1.Protest and crying (anger and fear also) 2.Despair – more urgent crying 3.Detachment – stops protesting and gives up crying (Bowlby thought the initial protesting might be a survival instinct)

26 Visiting times in the 1950s Guy’s HospitalSundays 2-4pm Westminster HospitalWednesdays and Sundays 2- 3pm Charing Cross HospitalSundays 3-4pm St Bartholomew’sSundays 2-3:30pm St Thomas’sNo visits for the first month, but parents could see children asleep between 7-8pm

27 Spitz’s study of children in institutions http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvdOe1 0vrs4http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvdOe1 0vrs4 Rene Spitz had studied institutionalised children in 1946 A hospital, prison, orphanage or residential home are all examples of institutions, when children live in such a place they can called institutionalised

28 Spitz He found that children deprived of their attachment figure became depressed. If an infant had formed an attachment with his or her mother for the first 6 months of life, development was good However, if the attachment was broken (e.g. child goes into hospital), then over a 3 month period of being deprived of the attachment figure the child became increasingly depressed. At first the depression was partial but after a short time it became severe – hospitalisation. Partial depression meant the child would cry and cling to observers, but after 3 months, the child’s condition would worsen and he or she would move into severe depression.

29 Spitz Children still in the partially depressed stage when reunited with their mothers would readjust after about 2-3 months. Children experienced weight-loss, insomnia, illness and a lack of facial emotion. Refused to move and interact with their carers (who were caring for their physical but not emotional needs) As the years past, some children who remained in the institution died.

30 Spitz Spitz found that separation and being deprived of the main caregiver had extreme consequences for the child. He suggested that the lack of stimulation in institutions (children laying in cots with no stimulation around them) was also to blame for their decline. Bowlby drew on this evidence of depression for his maternal deprivation hypothesis.

31 Goldfarb’s study of children in institutions Goldfarb (1955) studied 15 children who had stayed in an institution up to 3 months before being fostered. He compared them with a group of children fostered from 6 months. The aim was to see if later fostering would be successful. He found that those adopted later showed problems in adolescence more than those who were fostered earlier.

32 Goldfarb (1955) Those fostered later were less emotionally secure, intellectually behind the other group and less mature. Godlfarb concluded that babies should not be put into institutions and he thought early deprivation would lead to later problems. Bowlby also used this as evidence for his maternal deprivation hypothesis.

33 Ainsworth Worked with Bowlby looking at different types of attachment, as well as considering issues such as sensitive parenting.

34 Ainsworth’s work on attachments Ugandan studies Ainsworth left London in 1954 to live in Uganda where she studied mother-child interactions. She noticed that there was a relationship between the responsiveness of the mother and the reactions of the child. Some were secure and comfortable, others were tense and full of conflict. She found the type of interaction was related to how responsive the parent was to the child’s needs. She also noted that infants used their mothers as a safe/secure base from which to explore.

35 Ainsworth The strange situation test Ainsworth used a structured observation and set up a test using standard procedures, so that each mother and child had the same experience and the child’s responses could be carefully recorded for comparison. The strange situation – the significant period is after the children are put into a situation that is strange for them, and when they are experiencing separation from their mother (or main caregiver). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTsewNrHUHU

36 Ainsworth Attachment types Securely attached Anxious avoidant Anxious resistant After Ainsworth: disorganised and disorientated

37 Ainsworth – securely attached Children were distressed when their mother left and wanted comfort from her when she returned. The child uses the mother as a safe base but returns to the mother. 70% of American children in 1978 according to Ainsworth’s study were securely attached

38 Ainsworth – anxious avoidant Children who were not distressed when the mother left and tended to avoid her when she came back. (avoidant insecure) It could be that the mother is neglectful or abusive and that the child has learned not to depend on her. Ainsworth’s Baltimore (1978) study found around 15% of the 26 families had anxious avoidant babies.

39 Ainsworth – anxious resistant Children who stayed close to their mother rather than exploring, and became extremely distressed when she left. They went for comfort when she came back but they rejected her comforting. Can also be called ambivalent insecure. 15% found in Ainsworth’s sample.

40 After Ainsworth – disorganised and disorientated In 1986 Main and Solomon suggested that there is a fourth attachment type – disorganised and disoriented. This type of attachment is characterised by the child both approaching the mother on her return and avoiding her.

41 Links between attachment types and mothering styles Ainsworth (also Ainsworth and Bell, 1969) looked at the type of mothering that might produce a certain type of attachment in a child. They observed the children they used in the strange situation before that procedure was carried out. The observation was for 3 months

42 Links between attachment types and mothering styles They were able to draw conclusions about the responsiveness of the mothering. A mother who was insensitive to her infant’s responses during feeding and to the infant’s physical needs, who showed little face-to-face interaction and was less attentive when the child was distressed did not have an infant who was securely attached in the strange situation procedure the child was likely to be insecurely attached. Mothers who had responded to their infant’s needs in the first 3 months of their life had securely attached children.

43 Using the strange situation in cross-cultural studies Ainsworth’s work in Uganda Uganda, 1963, Ainsworth studied 26 families and observed the interactions, watching mother- child relationships. She also interviewed mothers about the mother’s sensitivity. She found that mothers who knew a lot about their babies when interviewed were sensitive to their infant’s needs. They tended to have securely attached children who used their mother as a secure base from which to explore.

44 Ainsworth – the Baltimore Project Ainsworth followed the 26 families from birth of the child – end of first year Naturalistic observations in the family home took place looking at face-to-face interactions, responsiveness to crying and physical needs, feeding and close bodily contact. The final observation was the strange situation procedure. Main focus was the pattern of interactions in the home and conclusions about the sensitivity of the mother related to the attachment type of the child.

45 Comparing Uganda and Baltimore There were many similarities in the attachment types and types of mothering in the two cultures. General conclusion = securely attached infants used their mothers as a secure base from which to explore and had sensitive mothers, whereas insecurely attached infants cried more, explored less and had less sensitive mothers.

46 Comparing Uganda and Baltimore If this was found in two cultures perhaps there was a biological basis for attachment types when linked to parenting style and maybe this was true of all cultures. If there were differences in attachment types linked to parenting styles in different cultures, then the links may have come from nurture and the differences in the environment.

47 Other cross-cultural studies of attachment types In Germany Grossman et al. (1985) found more avoidant attachment types In Japan (Miyake et al., 1985) and Israel (Sagi et al., 1985) (in the Kibbutzim) there were more ambivalent types. Jin Mi Kyoung’s (2005) Korean study looked at 87 Korean families and 113 USA families and used the strange situation to look for cultural differences in attachment types.

48 Other cross-cultural studies of attachment types There were a greater number of securely attached infants, which reinforces that idea that attachment types are found in similar proportions across cultures and countries. There were some differences between Western and Eastern cultures e.g. Korean infants stayed less close to their mothers and explored more but when their mothers returned, the mothers were more likely to get down on the floor and play with them.

49 Research into privation Privation – a child who has not formed any attachment and will lack almost all types of socialisation. The case study of Genie led to the conclusion that early privation leads to irreversible problems. However no one knows if Genie had problems anyway.

50 Koluchova (1972) the Czech twins Jarmila Koluchova studied identical twin boys who were born in Czechoslovakia in 1960. (see information sheet) At first their development was relatively normal but their mother died and they were institutionalised for a year, then brought up by an aunt for another 6 months. The twins father remarried and they went to live with their father, stepmother and her 4 children.

51 Koluchova (1972) the Czech twins Their stepmother often locked them away in a room and beat them. This carried on for over 5 years until they were found and rescued at the age of 7. They suffered from rickets (lack of vitamin D in the bones), were small for their age, could not talk or recognise pictures so an IQ test was not possible. They were frightened of the dark and had only developed to a normal 3 year old level. It was predicted that they would not develop normally and would remain well behind in intellectual development.

52 Koluchova (1972) the Czech twins They were placed in a school for children with severe learning difficulties where they began to catch up with children of their age and went on to a normal school. By 11 their speech was normal, by 15 their IQ was normal for their age. They went on to train in electronics and later married (women, not each other), had families and a normal life.

53 Freud and Dann: children in Terezin Anna Freud and Sophie Dann (1951) studied 6 children who were kept in the ghetto of Terezin, Czechoslovakia. The children were looked after by the adults who were ‘passing through’ on their way to the extermination camps such as Auschwitz. The children did not have a chance to form an attachment so therefore suffered privation.

54 Freud and Dann: children in Terezin When the camps were liberated the children were brought to Britain, fostered and followed up to see how well they recovered from their early privation. When found they couldn’t speak much but were strongly attached to one another, showing separation anxiety/distress when separated. They developed normal intelligence, although one sought psychiatric help and another described feeling isolated and alone. It seems the effects of privation can be reversed, although problems may occur in adulthood.

55 Are the effects of privation reversible? Koluchova and Freud and Dann conclude that it is. Curtiss’s study of Genie, however, shows that she did not recover from her early privation.


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