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Attachments Lesson 6 Cultural Variations in Attachment.

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1 Attachments Lesson 6 Cultural Variations in Attachment

2 1.What, according to Bowlby, are the evolutionary reasons for attachment? 2. How does the Strange Situation confirm this? (Think of the long-term consequences of the different types of attachment)

3 Evolutionary significance of Attachment 1 Evolutionary significance of Attachment 1. Aids immediate survival – baby is fed, nurtured, protected, loved. Attachment provides secure base from which infant can explore the world and learn. Infant’s brain develops with acquired knowledge and discovery, and it is able to fully develop it’s genetic potential. Smart infants grow into smart adults who tend to mate with smart partners to make smart offspring – therefore the genes are advantageously perpetuated. The adult has been assisted in meeting a smart mate because It’s secure attachment has provided a template for all other relationships and it is able to interact successfully.

4 Evolutionary significance of Attachment 2. The Strange Situation highlights that even very small children are put at enormous disadvantage by an insecure attachment. Longitudinal Studies show that the type of attachment a child has, is with them for life, and affects all other relationships. In turn, their type of attachment influences what sort of parent they are able to become, which in turn, will affect the next generation.

5 Is attachment the same in all cultures? Bowlby’s theory of attachment, supported by Ainsworth’s Strange Situations study suggests that there are evolutionary reasons for attachment – basically, that it is necessary for survival. If this is the case, then the Strange Situation should provide similar results in all cultures. But there might be a problem here. Let’s see!

6 Behaviours displayed by infants in The Strange Situation (Ainsworth et al 1978) (U.S.) Secure attachment (Type B) Insecure Avoidant (Type A) Insecure Resistant (Type C) Insecure Avoidant/ Resistant. “Disorganised” (Type D) Willingness to explore HIGH LOW Alternate between A & C Stranger Anxiety HIGHLOWHIGH Often prefer strangers’ company Separation Anxiety Reasonably easy to soothe INDIFFERENTDISTRESSEDAlternate Between A & C Behaviour at re- Union with carer ENTHUSIASTICAVOIDS CONTACT SEEKS AND REJECTS Often afraid of carer % of infants in this category 66%22%12% Minority of Infants display this disorganised behaviour

7 Name and date the study which examined attachment cross- culturally What was the AIM of this study? What was the PROCEDURE Of this study?

8 Cross-cultural patterns of attachment – Van Ijzendoorn and Kroonenberg, 1988 Aim – To investigate global attachment patterns Procedure - This was a meta-analysis (the data from 32 Strange Situation studies from eight countries was collated and analysed)

9 What were the FINDINGS?

10 Findings In all countries, secure attachment was the most common –but…….!!!!!!!!!!! Most common in all cultures Secure Attachment (Type B) -Most common in all cultures. The The Lowest proportion was in China (50%) The Highest (approx 75%) –GB & Sweden. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Avoidant Attachment (Type A) More common in W. Germany than other western countries. Very rare in Israel and Japan. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Resistant Attachment (Type C) - Common in Israel, China & Japan. Lowest proportion was in Scandinavian countries such as Sweden

11 What were the CONCLUSIONS? How are the apparent differences in attachment cross-culturally to be explained?

12 Conclusions Globally, secure attachment was the most common and we could conclude, the “best” for healthy social and emotional development. The variation in percentages, particularly between types A and C suggest that child- rearing practices in different countries may affect the attachment of babies -------and/or It may be that the Strange Situation does not work well in all cultures, for reasons that we are going to discuss.

13 Can you give some EVALUATION?

14 Evaluation – Explaining the cultural variations in the Strange Situation Western cultures such as that of the U.K and USA, are called individualist cultures because they value independence and the importance of the individual. By contrast come cultures, such as those of Japan and China are called collectivist cultures because they value sharing and interdependence and the value of the group.

15 Big Criticism: Is the Strange Situation Culturally Biased? The Strange Situation was developed in the U.S, an individualist country. But in Japan for example, which is a collectivist country, the cultural norm is for mothers and babies to rarely be separated, which means we might expect to see high levels of separation anxiety and might explain the high % of Type C in the SS. Many of the differences in the cross- cultural SS concern collectivist countries.

16 More on Culture Bias Rothbaum et al 2000 said that attachment theory and research is not relevant to other cultures because it is so rooted in American culture. Why did they say this? Here are two examples. 1. The Continuity Hypothesis (Ainsworth said that those infants who are securely attached grow up to be socially and emotionally competent adults)- people who are independent and able to express their emotions. BUT!! ….. In Japan being a socially and emotionally competent adult means being group orientated and someone who is able to inhibit (not show) their feelings.

17 More on Culture Bias 2. The Secure Base Hypothesis - the infant uses the primary care giver as a secure base from which to explore and become independent. BUT!!! In Japan the ideal in relationships is that people should be very much inter-dependent on each other. So as a result Japanese children may appear to be insecurely attached according to Western cultures, whereas they are securely attached by Japanese standards.

18 We must be so careful when interpreting data!! What we call “avoidant” behaviour in the UK and USA, might well be called “independent” in Germany, an individualist country, but where independence is very highly valued. And just look at the graph and you will see that there are a higher proportion of type “As” in Germany.

19 So why are there such cross- cultural similarities? Van Ijzendoom and Kroonenberg sugest that the apparent cultural similarities they found might be explained by the effects of the mass media, with TV and internet, which spreads ideas about parenting so that children all over the world are exposed to similar influences. This means that the cultural similarities may not be due to innate biological influences but are because of our increasingly global culture.

20 Methodological Issues (can also be used for evaluation) 1. Meta-analysis (the results of 32 S.S studies were analysed) 2. Substantial study and large sample size (over 2000 babies) 3. But half of the 32 studies studied were carried out in the US, reflecting the dominance of US in psychology studies. 27 were carried out in individualistic cultures Only 5 in collectivist cultures, implying that the sample was not truly representative.

21 More Methodological Issues 4. Ainsworth’s Strange Situation was developed in the US so we can only make valid interpretations in cross-cultural studies if we really understand the attitudes to child-rearing in that culture. 5. Van Ijzendoorn & Kroonenberg found that the variation within cultures in attachment was one- and-a-half times greater than between cultures. This shows clearly that it is a mistake to assume that all children are brought up in exactly the same way in a particular country or culture.

22 A good final paragraph When looking at attachment behaviours cross- culturally, some might question Bowlby and Ainsworth’s view, that attachment is a universal factor in human development. However, whilst there are differences, and to some extent, attachment theory is culture-bound, the impressive fact is that in in all 8 countries involved in the meta-analysis of the Strange Situation, secure attachment was the most common, by far, and we could conclude, the “best” for healthy social and emotional development. Certainly research has shown that secure attachment is associated with good psychiatric health in adulthood.

23 Homework Discuss research into cultural variations in attachment (12 marks)

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