Chapter5 Establishment of Intimate Relationships and Their Implications for Future Development
John Bowlby’s observations of hospitalized toddler who had been separated for long periods from their
mothers: protest phase (last from a few hrs to more than a week, tried to regain their mothers and resisted substitute
caregivers) phase of despair (lose hope & became apathetic & unresponsive to toys and other ppl) detachment phase
(renew interest in toys and substitute caregivers & cool and indifferent to the reappearance of mother & little protest when
mother left again)a fourth separationphase of permanent withdrawal from human relationship may occur that the
children become less interested in human contact, being egocentric
Attachments are reciprocal relationships:
Attachment (termed by Bowlby): a close emotional relationship between two persons, characterised by
mutual affection and a desire to maintain proximity.
The likelihood that a mother and their infant will become securely attached is just as high (or higher) in
adaptive families as in nonadoptive ones. Secure attachments between infants and caregivers are not formed in the first
few hours (or days) after birth; they build gradually from social interactions that take place over a period of months.
Interactional synchrony and attachment:
Even very young infants expect synchrony between their own gestures and those of caregivers, and these
expectancies are one reason that face-to-face play interactions with regular companions become increasingly coordinated
and complex over the first several months.
Synchronized routines: generally harmonious interactions between two persons in which participants adjust
their behavior in response to the partner’s actions and emotions.
Smooth synchronous interactions are most likely to develop if parents limit their social stimulation to those
periods when the baby is alert and receptive, and avoid pushing things too far when the infant is fussy and sending the
suspending signal.As the synchrony continues, the infants learn how to regulate the caregiver’s attention and the caregiver
become better at interpreting the baby’signals and will learn to adjust her behavior, and eventually blossom into a strong
HOW DO INFANTS BECOMEATTACHED?
The Growth of PrimaryAttachments
1. The social phase (0-6 weeks): infants are somewhat “asocial” and respond in an equally favorable
way to interesting social and non-social stimuli. By the end of this period, infants begin to show preference
for social stimuli such as smiling face.
2. The phase of indiscriminate attachments (6 weeks to 6-7 months): infants prefer social to non-
social stimulation and tend to be indiscriminate on anyone, and are likely to protest whenever any adult puts
them down or leaves them alone.
3. The specific attachment phase (7-9 months): infants begin to protest only when separated from
one particular individual (usually mother). They also become wary of strangers. First genuine attachment in
life has been established.
The formation of a secure attachment serves as asecure base: the use of a caregiver as a base from
which to explore the environment and to which to return for emotional support.
4. The phase of multiple attachments: the period when infants are forming attachments to
companions other than their primary attachment object. By 18 months, very few infants are attached with
only person and some were attached to 5 or more.
Research indicates that each of the infant’s attachment objects may serve different functions instead
of a “hierarchy”, so that the person whom an infant prefers most may depend on thesituation. Theories ofAttachment:
Psychoanalytic Theory: I Love You Because You Feed Me:
Freud: young infants are “oral” creature who derive satisfaction from sucking and mouthing and should be
attracted to any person who provides oral pleasure. Mother would become baby’s primary object of attachment
particularly if she were relazed and generous in her feeding practices.
Erik Erikson: mother’s feeding is influential but theoverall responsiveness to all her child’s needs in more
important. The caregiver’s level of responsibility will foster the infants’sense oftrust if needs are satisfied and otherwise
become mistrust, and they have life-long effects.
Learning Theory: Rewardingness Leads to Love
Feeding can provide many more comforts than just food, and infant should come to associate his mother with
pleasant.As long as the mother becomes a secondary reinforce, the infant will do whatever is necessary in order to attract
the caregiver’s attention to get pleasant.
Harlow’s research by using “wire” (feeding mom) and “cloth”(comforting mom) surrogate mothers to
compare the importance of feeding and tactile stimulation for the development of attachments in infant monkeys: infants
became attached to the cloth mother even if it was the wire mother who fed them, and they all ran directly to the cloth
mother when being frightened. Implies that contact comfort is a more powerful contributor to attachment in monkeys than
Human infants: research found the generosity of a mother’s feeding practices simply did not predict the
quality of their infants’attachment to her.
Current viewpoints of learning theory: reinforcement is the mechanism for emotional attachment that
infants will be attracted to any individual who is quick to respond toall their needs and who provides them with a variety
of pleasant or rewarding experience (similar to Erikson). Study found the caregiver’sresponsiveness to the infant’s
behaviors and the total amount of stimulation predicts the character of the attachment.
Cognitive-Developmental Theory: To Love You, I Must Know You Will Be There (Object Permanence)
Before an attachment can occur, the infant must be able to discriminate familiar companions from strangers
and recognize a “permanence” about them (Object permanence). Piaget’sfourth sensorimotor substage matches with the
phase of specific attachment phase (7-9 month).
Study found that 9-month-olds who scored high in object permanence only protested when separated from
their mothers, whereas age-mates who scored lower did not reliably protest separations from anyone (mom, dad or
Bowlby’s Ethological Theory: Perhaps I Was Born to Relate and Love(evolutionary view)
Amajor assumption of the ethological approach is that all species are born with a number of innate
behavioral tendencies that have sin some way contributed to the survival of the species over the course of evolution, such
as imprinting, an innate form of learning in which the young of certain species will follow and become attached to
moving objects, which is carried out automatically, irreversibly and within delimited critical period.
Attachment in humans: infants of many species display the “kewpie-doll” effect may help to elicit the
positive attention from others that will promote emotional attachment. But babies need not to be adorable to foster close
attachments for a clear majority of relative unattractive infants end up securely attached to caregivers. Some behaviors
like smiling can reinforce care-giving activities and thereby increase the likelihood that parents or other nearby
companions will want to attend the infants later.In sum, human infants and their caregivers are said to have evolved in
ways that predispose them to respond favorably to each other and form close attachments, thus enabling infants to
Bowlby claimed that attachments are NOT automatic. He believed that human beings are biologically
prepared to form close attachments, but it will not develop unless each participant has learned how to respond
appropriately to the behaviors of the other. (infant’s preprogrammed signal will eventually wane if they fail to produce
favorable reaction from their depressed mother). INDIVIDUALDIFFERENCES INATTACHMENT SECURITY
AssessingAttachment Security by Using Strange Situation
Secure attachment (60-65%): infant actively explores while alone with mother and may be visibly upset by
separation. The infant often greets the mother warmly when she returns and, will often seek contact with her if highly
distressed. The child may be outgoing with strangers while the mother is present.
Resistant attachment (10%): explore little and try to stay close to their mothers; become very distressed as
the mother departs and behave ambivalently when they return: remain near her but seem angry for her departure, likely to
resist physical contact initiated by the mother; quiet wary of strangers even when their mother are present.
Avoidant attachment (20%): show little distress when separated from the mother and will turn away from
and may continue to ignore their mother, even when she tries to gain their attention; may often sociable with strangers but
occasionally avoid or ignore them as they did to their mothers.
Disorganized/ disoriented attachment (5-15%): most stressed by the Strange Situation and most insecure; a
combination of resistant and avoidant that reflects confusion about whether to approach or avoid the caregiver; may
cringe and look fearful, freeze or curl up on the floor in reunion episode, or may move closer but then abruptly move
away as the mother draws near.
Alternative measurements: attachment Q-set(AQS) is appropriate for 1-5 year olds by sorting descriptions
of attachment-related behaviors at home, result generally matches with strange situation.AdultAttachment Interview
(AAI): asking questions about recollection and feelings about their early childhood relationships with parents.
Culture Variations inAttachment
The percentages of infants that fall into each category differ from culture to culture and reflect cultural
variations in child rearing: germany encourage independence and show more avoidant attachment pattern; Japan has more
resistant attached babies because of rare separations with moms.
Some researchers agree that the meanings of attachment relationship and security are culturally universal and
the difference in percentage simply reflects the difference in rearing practices. Some argue that a secure behavioral profile
varies from culture to culture. For example, the establishment of dependence on mother is considered highly adaptive in
Japanese society, a hallmark of healthy attachment, whereas a secure attachment in Western societies is one that
FACTORS THAT INFLUENCEATTACHMENT SECURITY
Quality of Caregiving:
Caregiving hypothesis:Ainsworth’s notion that the type of attachment an infant develops with a particular
caregiver depends primarily on the kind of caregiving he has received from that person.
Mothers of securely attached infants aresensitive and responsive caregivers; they are insightful, being able
to understand and respond in a appropriate way to his needs and concerns. Characteristics that promote secure
attachments: sensitivity/ positive attitude/ synchrony/ mutuality/ support/ stimulation.
Parents of resistant babies are thought to beinconsistent and reacting depending on moods and being
unresponsive a good deal of the time.
Mothers of avoidant infants are often impatient and unresponsive, drive little pleasure from close contact,
they are rigid, self-centred, more like toreject their children. Or such parents could be overzealous and provide too
much stimulation on them, and their children cope that with avoidance or ignorance with their parents.
Disorganized infants are so fearful of their parents because of past frightened episodes of neglect, or
physically abused. Disorganized babies are common among infants whose mothers are severely depressed or
alcohol/drug abused, or who has suffered unresolved trauma, giving extremely insensitive caregivings.
Parents who felt unloved or abused as children are often insensitive caregivers. The occasionally fussy,
irritable behaviors of infants will make those parents being rejected once again and may withdraw their affection.Adults
whose pregnancies were unplanned and their babies unwanted can particularly insensitive caregivers; the unwanted
babies are more frequently hospitalized, more lower grades at school, poorer peer relationship, and generally more
irritable and antisocial, later being much less satisfied wi