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Lecture 7

PSYCH 2AP3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Effective Schools, Psychopathology, John Bowlby

Course Code
Geoffrey Hall

of 3
Why do some succeed and others do not?
Attributed to: persistence, courage, strength of character
Multifinality (e.g. maltreatment during childhood)
oDepression or
oHealthy adaptation
But in those who succeed: resilience is variable and ordinary just a consequence of individual
characteristics and environmental factors that would be of benefit to most children at risk
Masten (2001) calls it “ordinary magic”, things that are positive in your life will be positive in
others’ lives
Risk and Resilience
Characteristics of children and adolescents who display resilience in the face of adversity:
oGood intellectual functioning
oAppealing, social, easygoing disposition
oSelf efficacy, confidence , high self esteem
oClose relationship to caring parent
oAuthoritative parenting style – warmth, structure, high expectations
oSocioeconomic advantages
oConnections to extended supportive family network
School and Community:
oInterested, supportive adults outside the family
oConnections to social organizations
oAttendance at effective schools
First 6 years raised by grandparents under hard physical discipline and poverty
Attributes her own success to her grandmother’s influence
Later childhood and adolescence moved back and forth between both parents homes, was
sexually abused by several people and at age 14 gave birth to a stillborn baby
Credits her father and various teachers for helping her navigate troubled years and giving her
confidence to succeed
Individual: intellectual functioning, appealing socially, self efficacy – self confidence, self esteem,
Family: close relationship to caring parent – grandmother (authoritative parenting), father
Community: interested, supportive adults outside the family, attendance at effective schools
oIn the face of adversity and risk factors Oprah had individual and environmental factors
that would be of benefit to most children at risk
Continuity and Change
Does a disorder at an earlier time in life carry over to later life?
Do children outgrow their psychopathology?
oChildren may outgrow problems
oEarly problems should be addressed to ensure later success
Homotypic: stable symptoms or problems
Heterotypic: symptoms change with development
Social-emotional bond between infants and parent/significant caregiver
Develops in infancy emerging at 7 to 9 months
Bowlby viewed it as biologically hardwired in both infants and parent
oProvided infant with secure base to explore world
oHelps infant regulate his/her behaviour under conditions of threat and stress
oSelf-reliance develops when the attachment figure provides a secure base
Following separation and subsequent return of caregiver:
oSecurely Attached infant will seek contact with caregiver and react positively
Leads to: good social interaction, positive outcomes, stable mental health
oInsecurely Attached infant will fail to use caregiver as a way of dealing with stress and will
either react very little (avoidant) or react but show ineffective attempts to connect with the
caregiver (resistant)
Avoidant: makes no visible response/ignores the parent (turns or moves away
actively, does not cuddle)
Resistant: upset when mom leaves and when mom returns has an angry quality
to the interaction  child will signal wish to connect and when mom does not
connect child shows angry reaction or resistance to being calmed
oInfants that show Disorganized Attachment display contradictory behaviours  may be
misdirected or atypical
Child may experience adult as frightening
Mom perceived as both a source of safety and harm so the child may approach
sometimes and react or withdraw or freeze other times (e.g. mom is a drug
A composite of: reactivity to stimuli, regulation of bodily function, mood, adaptability to change
Develops in infancy emerging at 7 to 9 months
Easy: positive mood, normal eating/sleeping
Slow to warm: low activity, withdraw from new situations
Difficulty: cry, fussy, irregular eating and sleeping
Suggests that biologically based temperament in infant occur in the present of parents who differ
in the way they react
oView temperament as malleable and outcome depends on the goodness-of-fit between
temperamental tendencies and parent characteristics  a good match leads to good
Emotional Regulation
Emotional reactivity: individual differences in threshold and intensity of emotional experiences 
this gives clues to level of distress and sensitivity to environment
Emotional regulation: involves enhancing, maintaining or inhibiting emotional arousal
oTest: ask child to unlock box with toy in it but none of the keys work
Emotional regulation as need by level of emotional reactivity and expression are important signs
of normal and abnormal development
Social Cognitive Processing
How social situations are understood and interpreted
oE.g. aggressive children often interpret the behaviour of others as hostile