The effects of institutionalisation on emotional development
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The effects of institutionalisation on emotional development Key Word: Disinhibited attachment –

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The effects of institutionalisation on emotional development key word disinhibited attachment

The effects of institutionalisation on emotional development

Key Word:

Disinhibited attachment –

a behaviour pattern shown by children who have been raised in institutions. Key features include attention seeking behaviour towards all adults, even strangers, a lack of fear of strangers, making inappropriate physical contact with adults and a lack of checking back to the parents in times of stress


  • Consider

  • Do you think that this is common of all children who are institutionalised?

  • What about young children who spend a lot of time in juvenile jail or young offenders institutions?

Orphanages in romania
Orphanages in Romania

Conditions in Romanian orphanages were very poor and children were often neglected

Rutter et al 2007
Rutter et al. 2007

  • Sample: Romanian orphans adopted in the UK before the age of 4. Many were severely malnourished.

  • Control Group: UK-born adoptees who were placed with families before 6 months

  • IV: Age at adoption (<6mths, 6mths – 24mths, 2-4 years)

  • DV: inhibited/disinhibited attachment


  • Semi-structured interviews of both child and parents

  • Observation to see if child makes inappropriate physical contact

  • Longitudinal study: children followed up at ages 4, 6 and 11


  • Disinhibited attachment:

    • Attention seeking bahaviour towards all adults

    • Lack of fear of strangers

    • Inappropriate physical contact

    • Lack of checking back to the parent in stressful situations

Methodological issues
Methodological Issues

  • Qualitative data

  • Longitudinal Research

  • The extent of privation from orphanage?

  • Ethics

Chisholm 2000 additional info
Chisholm (2000) – additional info

  • Case study of two adopted children from Romania

  • Ainsworth’s ‘strange situation scenario’

  • The children have formed different attachment patterns within the same family

  • Suggests individual differences


  • Look at the pictures of the Romanian child and the UK child.

  • Fill in the blanks in the thought bubbles