Individual Differences in Attachment Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 7 June 2016

Individual Differences in Attachment

Attachment is when you get a strong reciprocal, emotional bond between two people like with a mother and infant. The attachment acts as a basis for further emotional and psychological development. Following on from the study carried out by Schaffer and Emerson (1964) on the phases of development in attachment, Ainsworth and Bell (1978) investigated individual differences in attachment using the Strange Situation. They hoped that their method of assessing attachments would be a reliable and valid measure of attachments. The Strange Situation test lasted approximately 20 minutes and involved the observation of an American infant (12 to 18 months) in a controlled observation room. The procedure consisted of 7 stressful episodes each lasting 3 minutes, depending on the reaction of the infant.

The first episode involved the infant exploring the room in the presence of the caregiver. A stranger then entered the room, followed by the discreet departure of the caregiver. The caregiver would then return, and the reaction of the child would be recorded. The stranger would then leave the room. There was 3 clear groups of infants from the recorded results that were collected. One group greeted the mother on her return, this shows that the child was securely attached. Another group showed distress all around the room and rejected the mother on return, this is called an insecure resistant child. The final type of child found from the results was a child that didn’t orientate the room in which they were in, and they didn’t show any interest in their mothers return. This is called an insecure avoidant child.

Takahashi did another study to find out about attachments between Japanese children and their caregiver. He used 60 middle class Japanese infants all aged 1. They were all raised at home, and were observed in a strange situation. 68% of the results showed that the child was securely attached. The remaining 32% were all resistance insecurely attached. However these results may not be very accurate. This is because all of the results come from children from the same background, so it cannot really be used to generalize the whole of Japan. This means that it had low population validity and cultural bias.

Van Ijzendoorn and Kroonenberg did a similar study to the one by Takahashi but they took results from eight different countries. The results showed important and clear cultural differences. Europe contained the most countries that had securely attached relationships and the least amount of resistant’s. This shows that the study done by Takahashi was not reliable at all, because it only looked at one culture and one type of child from one background. This shows massive cultural differences and population validity, which means it cannot be generalized for everybody else. The three studies all had different results, mostly showing that the majority of the infants involved were securely attached.

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