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Attachment. “The formation of a strong, reciprocal emotional bond between an infant and a primary caregiver”. www.psychlotron.org.uk. Attachment. Behaviours that indicate attachment (Maccoby, 1980): Proximity seeking (especially when stressed) Separation distress & pleasure when reunited

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attachment
Attachment

“The formation of a strong, reciprocal emotional bond between an infant and a primary caregiver”

www.psychlotron.org.uk

attachment2
Attachment
  • Behaviours that indicate attachment (Maccoby, 1980):
    • Proximity seeking (especially when stressed)
    • Separation distress & pleasure when reunited
    • General orientation towards specific individual

www.psychlotron.org.uk

development of attachments
Development of Attachments
  • When do attachments form?
    • How do they vary over time?
  • Who does the child attach to?
    • What influences choice of attachment figure?

www.psychlotron.org.uk

development of attachments4
Development of Attachments
  • Shaffer & Emerson (1964)
    • Longitudinal study in natural environment
    • Observations & diary records
    • Measured attachment via (1) separation distress; (2) stranger anxiety

www.psychlotron.org.uk

development of attachments5
Development of Attachments
  • When?
    • First attachment usually formed by 8 months
    • Stranger anxiety usually 1 month later
    • Attachment strength peaks during first month

www.psychlotron.org.uk

development of attachment
Development of Attachment
  • Who?
    • 65% mother only
    • 30% mother & another (often father)
    • 3% father only
    • Responsiveness, play and social interaction matter most in attachment formation
    • Not necessarily person who fed, changed, washed or spent most time with child

www.psychlotron.org.uk

stages of development
Stages of Development
  • 0-2 months – pre attachment
    • Preference for people over objects, but no discrimination between people
  • 3-7 months – indiscriminate attachment
    • Apparent preference for familiar people (e.g. smiling more at some people)
  • 7 months – discriminate attachment
    • True emotional attachment. Multiple attachments by about 9 months

www.psychlotron.org.uk

comments criticisms
Comments & Criticisms
  • Infants may have stronger preferences than Shaffer and others allow for:
    • Infants show preference for mothers face within 24 hrs of birth (Bushnell et al, 1989)
    • Other evidence suggests recognition of mother’s voice & scent in neonates

www.psychlotron.org.uk

comments criticisms9
Comments & Criticisms
  • Attachment may correlate with development, not strictly age
    • Ugandan children show stranger anxiety earlier, also begin crawling earlier (Ainsworth, 1967)
    • Correlation between attachment and mobility makes evolutionary sense
  • However, most evidence suggests that Shaffer’s work is very robust

www.psychlotron.org.uk