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Chapter 6

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Family Studies
FMST 210
Maria Weatherby

Chapter 6 Independent Questions I. Theories of Social and Personality Development A. Psychoanalytical Perspectives – See lecture notes B. Ethological Perspectives 1. (a) Bowlby distinguished between two different types of affectionate human relationships. Clarify the difference between an affectionate bond and attachment? (Note: See definitions in the margin, as the phrasing in the paragraph is poor.) Affectionate bond: the emotional tie to an infant experienced by a parent Attachment: the emotional tie to a parent experienced by an infant, from which the child derives security and comfort. (b) Define reactive attachment disorder. Reactive attachment disorder: a disorder that appears to prevent a child from forming close social/emotional relationships Research Report: Adoption and Development 2. Read the research report on pp. 150-151. (a) Why might the formation of attachment be more challenging for infants that are adopted? Many aspects of temperament and personality are inherited. Therefore, an adopted child is more likely than a biological child to be different from his parents in these traits, which may give rise to problems. (b) What did Elinor Ames’s (1997) research with Romanian orphans find? Infants who lived in the Romanian orphanages for more than 4 months before being adopted by BC families tended to have more psychological and motor-behaviour problems than nonadopted children. Moreover, the more months lived in the RO the more serious his or her difficulties were. (c) What did Lucy LeMare’s (2001) research with Romanian orphans find? There was considerable variability between individuals, but as a group the RO continued to show significantly more difficulties than comparable Canadian born or early adopted Romanian children. In particular, RO children had lower than average IQs and academic achievement, and more difficulties with attention, learning and peer relationships. II. Attachment A. The Parents’ Attachment to the Infant 3. (a) Define synchrony. A mutual, interlocking pattern of attachment behaviours shared by a parent and a child. It is like a conversation where the baby signals his needs by crying or smiling; he responds to being held by quieting or snuggling; he looks at the parents when the look at him. The mother, in turn, enters into the interaction with her own repertoire of caregiving behaviours. (b) Identify the parental behaviours that are similar between fathers and mothers. The father’s bond with the infant, like the mother’s seems to depend more on the development of synchrony than on contact immediately after birth. Fathers have the same repertoire of attachment behaviours as do mothers; touch, talk to, cuddle their babies (c) Identify the parental behaviours that are different between fathers and mothers. After the first week. Fathers: playing, more physical roughhousing, less consistent with responding to infant cues Mothers: routine caregiving, talk to, smile at baby B. The Infants’ Attachment to the Parents i. Establishing Attachment – See lecture notes ii. Attachment Behaviours 4. Some parent-infant interactions incorporate affect dysregulation. Describe this type of interactional pattern and record the research findings related to it. An interaction pattern in which a caregiver’s emotional responses to an infant interfere with the baby’s ability to learn how to regulate his or her emotions. More common in infant-mother pairs in which the mother displays low levels of sensitivity to the infant’s needs and the infant is insecurely attached. The quality of the emotional give-and-take in interactions between an infant and his caregivers is important to the child’s ability to control emotions such as anger + frustration in later years. iii. Internal Models – See lecture notes C. Variations in Attachment Quality i. Secure and Insecure Attachments – See lecture notes ii. Stability of Attachment Classifications – See lecture notes D. Caregiver characteristics and attachment i. Emotional Responsiveness 5. (a) Define the two crucial ingredients for secure attachment. Emotional availability: on part of the caregiver, is one who is able and willing to form and emotional attachment to the infant Contingent responsiveness: parents who demonstrate this are sensitive to the child’s cues and respond appropriately. (b) A low level of parental responsiveness is associated with both types of insecure attachment. However, each type of insecure attachment is distinct. Explain what parental responses are associated with (i) avoidant patterns of attachment, Eg. Mother rejects the infant or regularly withdraws from contact with her (ii) ambivalent patterns of attachment (which is the same as the “anxious” type), Eg. When primary caregiver is inconsistently or unreliably available to the child and (iii) disorganized/disoriented patterns of attachment (which is a fourth type of attachment identified by more contemporary researchers – Main and Solomon, 1990 – Ainsworth introduced the three types of attachment in 1978). Eg. When the child has been abused and in families in which either parent had some unresolved trauma in his or her own childhood such as abuse or parent’s early death ii. Marital Status and SES 6. (a) How does age influence the attachment process? With increasing age, mothers become less likely to describe their babies as ―difficult‖. Moreover, older mothers display more sensitive caregiving behaviours than teenagers. Of course, teenaged mothers are likely to have less education and fewer economic resources than older mothers. Thus, it‘s hard to say whether age or maturity is responsible for the associations between maternal age and parenting characteristics. (b) How does marital conflict influence the attachment process? Marital conflict poses rsks for the development of attachment. Researchs found that 6 month olds are exposed to parental arguments, especially those in which parents are verbally aggressive toward each other, are more likelyto display signs of emotional withdrawal than babies who are not so exposed. Emotional withdrawal on the part of the infant interferes with synchrony, thereby lessening the chances that he will develop a secure attachment to his primary caregiver. iii. Mental Health – (optional reading – not on exams) E. Long-term Consequences of Attachment Quality 7. The effects of attachment quality have been empirically investigated. Summarize the effects of attachment during the stages of (a) childhood, (b) adolescence and (c) adulthood. Children rated as securely attached to their mothers in infancy are later more sociable, more positive in their behavior toward friends and siblings, less clinging and dependent on teachers, less aggressive and disruptive, more empathetic, and more emotionally mature in their interactions in school and other settings outside the home. Adolescents who were rated as securely attached in infancy or who are classed as secure on the basis of interviews in adolescence are also more socially skilled, have more intimate friendships, are more likely to be rated as leaders, and have higher self-esteem and better grades. Those with insecure attachments— particularly those with avoidant attachments—not only have less positive and supportive friendships in adolescence, but also are more likely to become sexually active early and to practice riskier sex. Quality of attachment in infancy also predicts sociability through early, middle, and late adulthood. Moreover, one study found a link between attachment history and sexual dysfunction in adult males. In fact, that investigation found that quality of attachment in infancy predicted sexual dysfunction in adulthood better than a history of sexual abuse did. Developmentalists have also found that an adult‘s internal model of attachment affects his or her parenting behaviours III. Personality, Temperament, and Self-Concept A. Dimensions of Temperament Temperament is defined as inborn predispositions (nature) that affect how infants behave and emotionally respond to their environment. Temperament is the foundation for personality, which emerges in later stages of development. For instance, in chapter 10, you will be introduced to five personality types; however, in the current chapter, the focus is on temperament. 8. (a) Based on their nine dimensions, Thomas and Chess propose three types of infant temperament: (i) easy, (ii) difficult, and (iii) slow-to-warm-up. Define each of these three types of temperament. easy temperament: a predisposition to approaching new events positively, displaying predictable sleeping and eating cycles, being generally happy, and adjusting easily to change difficult temperament: a predisposition for irregular sleeping and eating cycles, emotional negativity and irritability, and resistance to change slow-to-warm-up: temperament a predisposition for inactivity and turning away from and adjusting slowly to unfamiliar people and new experiences. They display mild signs of negativity and discomfort. (b) Contemporary theories of temperament suggest there are five traits or dimensions in infancy: (i) activity level, (ii) approach/positive emotionality, (iii) inhibition, (iv) negative emotionality, and (v) effortful control/task persistence. Activity level: refers to an infant‘s tendency either to move often and vigorously or to remain passive or immobile. Approach/positive emotionality: is a tendency to move toward rather than away from new people, things, or objects, usually accompanied by positive emotion (this dimension is similar to what others call sociability). Inhibition: a tendency to respond with fear or withdrawal to new people, new situations, or new objects—is the flip side of the approach characteristic. Negative emotionality: is a tendency to respond to frustrating circumstances with anger, fussing, loudness, or irritability. Effortful control/task persistence: is an ability to stay focused and to manage attention and effort. B. Origins and Stability of Temperament ii. Neurological Processes 9. Jerome Kagan believes that temperament is the result of our physiology and neurology. According to Kagan, what is the basis for human shyness or behavioural inhibition? Suggested that differences in behavioural inhibition (or shyness) are based on differing thresholds for arousal in the parts of the brain that control responses to uncertainty—the amygdala and the hypothalamus. Arousal of these parts of the brain leads to increases in muscle tension and heart rate. Shy or inhibited children are thought to have a low threshold for such a reaction. That is, they more readily become tense and alert in the presence of uncertainty, perhaps even interpreting a
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