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Attachment: Individual Differences. Attachment is not an ‘all or nothing’ process There may be variations between children in the attachments they form. Ainsworth & Bell (1971). Controlled observation of children’s attachment behaviour using the ‘Strange Situation Classification’ (SSC):

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attachment individual differences
Attachment: Individual Differences
  • Attachment is not an ‘all or nothing’ process
  • There may be variations between children in the attachments they form
ainsworth bell 1971
Ainsworth & Bell (1971)
  • Controlled observation of children’s attachment behaviour using the ‘Strange Situation Classification’ (SSC):
    • Mother leaves child in unfamiliar environment
    • Child is approached by stranger
    • Mother returns
    • Looks at separation protest, stranger anxiety and reunion behaviour
ainsworth bell 19713
Ainsworth & Bell (1971)
  • Three patterns of attachment:
    • Secure (70% of sample)
    • Insecure – avoidant (20%)
    • Insecure – resistant (10%)
  • Ainsworth suggested that attachment type was determined by primary carer’s (mother’s) behaviour

www.psychlotron.org.uk

ainsworth bell 19714
Ainsworth & Bell (1971)
  • Secure attachment
    • Upset/subdued when mother left
    • Positive/happy when she returned
    • Avoidant of stranger but friendly when mother present
  • Associated with sensitive & responsive primary care

www.psychlotron.org.uk

ainsworth bell 19715
Ainsworth & Bell (1971)
  • Insecure –avoidant
    • Unconcerned by mother’s absence
    • Unresponsive when she returned
    • Strongly avoidant of mother and stranger
  • Associated with unresponsive primary care

www.psychlotron.org.uk

ainsworth bell 19716
Ainsworth & Bell (1971)
  • Insecure – resistant
    • Intensely distressed when mother left
    • Apparent fear of stranger
    • Clinginess mixed with rejection on return
  • Associated with inconsistent primary care

www.psychlotron.org.uk

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Secure

Avoidant

Resistant

Primary Carer’s Behaviour Towards Child

Child’s ‘Working Model’ of Itself

Positive & Loved

Unloved & Rejected

Angry & Confused

www.psychlotron.org.uk