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Chapter 12251

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Queen's University
PSYC 251
Valerie Ann Kuhlmeier

CHAPTER 12- ATTACHMENT AND EARLY PARENT-CHILD CARE  Attachment theory= proposed by John Bowlby  His initial ideas were influenced by 3 sources: 1. The mystery of the high death rates of infants staying in hospitals & orphanages 2. Ethological research conducted by Konrad Lorenz & colleagues on imprinting in birds 3. Research with primates by harry harlow on “mother love”- looking for the roots of an infant monkey’s love for its mother ATTACHMENT: close emotional relationship exhibited by a child toward a caregiver expressed by maintaining physical proximity, stress upon separation & relief f stress upon reunion Hospitals & Orphanages: sources of instant grief & death? st -death rates for infants in 1 year exceeded 50% attributed to unsanitary conditions -to reduce infections… they minimized contact between parents, staff & infants- meaning children were devoid of social contact extreme emotional distress despite sanitary conditions  Connection between psychological isolation & elevated death rates + emotional wasting Rene Spitz: compared development of 2 groups -infants raised by their own mothers & infants raised from 3months of life by overworked nursery staff ** motor, social, & intellectual development, & mortality- remarkable differences  Mother-raised: developed into socially competent toddlers  Staff-raised: significant signs of impairment for all aspects of psychological development  5 year period: no mother-raised infants died, 37% staff-raised infants died over 2 year period HOSPITALISM: almost irreversible & deathly syndrome in kids who were separated from their mothers or other significant caregivers for longer periods than 5 months during 1 year of life Lorenz- imprinting on birds: attachment important for other species! -shortly after hatching, precocial birds followed their mothers, keeping as near to them as possible, thus increasing chances of survival -limited time in which imprinting could occur (critical period) & occurred almost automatically  Immature features trigger caretaking behaviours :head larger than body, forehead large, large eyes, rounded cheeks, flat nose, short limbs adults find this combo appealing or CUTE, more apt to express interest in caring for younger looking children than older  Hormonal influence on perceptions of infant cuteness? -premenopausal women (19-26) more sensitive to infant cuteness prepare for parenthood John Bowlby: several hypotheses about “attachment” 1. Main function of early infant-mother links is SURVIVAL -protection from predators is by far most likely function of attachment behaviour 2. These links are esp. significant in early life when infants are immature & helpless and are triggered in adults by some infantile features of babies 3. Not all early close relationships in other species qualify as attachment -like some birds: automatic, triggered @ birth (imprinting), do not imply development of any caregiver recognition &/or relationship (like humans need) WHY INFANTS LOVE THEIR MOTHERS Theory Description Psychoanalytic theory: “I love you because you feed me” – SIGMUND FREUD Learning theory: “Rewards lead to love” Cognitive developmental theory: “To love you I must know you” Ethological (evolutionary) theory: “Perhaps I was born to love” Harlow experiments: separated infant monkeys from mothers shortly after birth & raised them with surrogate or substitute inanimate “mothers”  Some raised in cage w. 2 surrogate mothers ( 1 a wire cylinder which fed the monkey, 1 covered in cloth & didn’t feed infant) -quickly learned to feed from wire, however spent an inordinate amount of time clinging to cloth monkey  When frightened, would run to cloth monkey  Showed a preference for contact comfort over food  Something more complex than feeding was responsible for establishing attachment  Suggested that food & love were 2 independent primary needs that had to be fulfilled in order for development to proceed normally (though the 2 are obviously related)  Creature comfort alone is not enough to raise a normal monkey- social relationships are vital (with mother & peers) John B Watson- radical behaviourist: proposed modern science could provide the means of rearing children better than tradition or instinct of mothers -believed parental love & affection were unnecessary for proper development & were handicaps for raising a child to become a competent adult -too much love would make a kid overly dependent on the approval of others & social invalid Concept of Attachment What is the difference between a 3 month old & a 8 month old? ATTACHMENT  @ 3 months, baby will not yet be attached to their mother- you can hold the baby and the mother can leave the room without the baby fussing  @ 8 months, baby will become distressed if mom moves out of sight, will always check that mom is in sight, and will crawl closer to her if she moves – baby is now attached -feels uncomfortable exploring the environment & objects when mom is not near -separation distress & in presence of unfamiliar people  Evolutionary tie?? Bowlby believed that infant’s attachment had substantial survival value -protected them from predators such as saber toothed tigers & from fellow humans such as stepparents & co-wives  Attachment is what infants feel towards their mother- NOT VICE VERSA- the attractions moms feel toward their infants in called BONDING STAGES OF ATTACHMENT *not established @ birth, but develops gradually Birth: parents are responsive to infant’s cries, coos, smiles, movements & infants in turn respond in turn to their parent’s attention -interactions during feeding & diaper change serve as basis for later social relationships 4 STAGES 1. PREATTACHMENT (asocial): birth- 6 weeks  Indiscriminate social responsiveness  Show interest in faces & voices- but don’t distinguish among them 2. INDISCRIMINATE ATTACHMENT (attachment-in-the-making): 6 weeks- 6/8 months  Babies obviously enjoy human company  Infants smile & babble @ parents/caregivers, but also will respond positively to mostly all normal acting people  No distress @ presence of strangers or separation from primary caregiver 3. SPECIFIC ATTACHMENT (clear-cut attachment):6-8 months to 18-24 months  Infants show clear cut interest in their primary caregiver (usually mothers)  React with distress when mothers leave them- particularly with an unfamiliar person (babysitter) 4. RECIPROCAL RELATIONSHIP: 18-24 months and on  Reflects a child’s increasing ability to understand their caregivers behaviours and needs  Show a more balanced, 2-way relationship with their caregivers  More readily establish new attachments beyond the earliest ones SEPARATION DISTRESS: infants’ distress response on being left by their attachment figure nd st FEAR OF STRANGERS: pattern of behaviour displayed by infants during 2 ½ of 1 year- serves as indication that infant has developed an attachment for his/her caretaker 18-24 months transition from sensorimotor to symbolic or mental representation FATHERS  Children do become attached to other people  Can be male or female, kin or non kin (fathers, family members, adoptive parents, teachers, daycare providers)  By 18 months, most have multiple attachments  Fathers traditionally have little role in caring for infants -even today spend much less time interacting than the mother  Increasing role- quite competent & form attachments much as mothers do  Interaction styles differ -mom= primary caregiver- more apt to hold & soothe their babies, play traditional verbal games (peekaboo, pat-a-cake) & care for babies needs -dads= more apt to play physical games involving unexpected reactions & stimulation babies often prefer dads at playtime & moms when theyre distressed TYPES OF ATTACHMENT STRANGE SITUATION: technique developed by ainsworth & colleagues to assess quality of attachment in young children -20 minute test SECURE ATTACHMENT: optimal type of attachment where infants display confidence when their caregivers are present, show mild distress when temporarily left alone, & quickly re-establish contact w. caregivers upon their return -60% INSECURE-RESISTANT: insecure style of attachment in which infants keep very close to their caregivers & tend not to explore much. They become distressed when caregivers leave them temporarily but display anger & initially rejection to contact when the caregivers return INSECURE-AVOIDANT: an insecure style of attachment in which infants show little distress when their caregivers depart temporarily, avoid contact with them when they return, & usually do not show wariness of the stranger DISORGANIZED/DISORIENTED: attachment style in which infants seek to be close to their caregivers in inconsistent ways, often showing patterns typical of secure, insecure-avoidant &/or insecure-resistant attachment simultaneously -infants show no coherent strategy for dealing with stress during separation & reunion in the strange situation -seek to be close to mothers in inconsistent ways -may be dazed or disoriented upon reunion -display high levels of motivational conflict- viewing caregiver as a source of both fear & comfort CASSIDY-MARVIN SYSTEM: measures quality of attachment by observing the behaviors of preschool children on reunion after 1 or several separations from a parent ATTACHMENT Q-SET (Q-sort method): more indirect. Prepared statements are sorted into categories -consists of 90 statements written on cards describing kid’s behaviours (1-5yrs) e.g. “child is strongly attracted to new activities & new toys”, “child recognizes when mother is upset. Becomes upset himself. Tries to comfort her” -mother or observer sorts cards into 9 piles.. those that are most like the child, ,least like the child -one sorted, researcher compares groupings to a profile for a securely attached child as defined by experts **the more similar the groupings are with the expert’s description, the more securely attached the child is Chris Fraley & Susan Spieker: rather than classifying kids in terms of specific styles (like in ainsworth system), individual differences in attachment were better described in terms of 2 continuous variables 1. Proximity seeking versus avoidance 2. High versus low anger/resistance CULTURAL DIFFERENCES  Universal? -secure attachment being the norm  Cultural differences still found need a more culturally sensitive approach to the assessment of the attachment
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