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Attachment

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Attachment

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  1. Attachment • What are emotional attachments • Theories of attachment • Behaviorist approach • Drive reduction model • Operant conditioning model • Problems with the models • Psychoanalytic approach • Freud’s theory • Erikson’s theory • Cognitive-developmental approach • Ethological approach • Background of the theory • The developmental course of attachment • Measurement of attachment • The “strange situation” • The attachment Q-sort • Patterns of attachment • Factors affecting attachment • Maternal deprivation and institutionalization • Quality of care-giving • Infant characteristics • Family circumstances

  2. Theories of AttachmentBehaviorist Approach • The importance of feeding and drive reduction • Elicits positive responses • Mothers provide infants with additional comforts, such as warmth, vocalizations • All occur in single setting • Mom becomes source of reinforcement

  3. Theories of AttachmentBehaviorist ApproachHarlow & Zimmerman (1959) Harry Harlow • Contact comfort

  4. Theories of AttachmentBehaviorist ApproachBlanket Attachment and Play

  5. Theories of AttachmentBehaviorist Approach • The importance of feeding and drive reduction • Elicits positive responses • Mothers provide infants with additional comforts, such as warmth, vocalizations • All occur in single setting • Mom becomes source of reinforcement • Operant Conditioning model • Infants look, smile, and seek proximity because mom reciprocates with smiles, hugs • The greater number of behaviors that get reinforced by particular person, the more one is attached to that person

  6. Theories of AttachmentPsychoanalytic Approach • Freudian approach • Similar to drive reduction • Become attached to person who satisfies basic biological drives (typically Mom) • Relationship with Mom then prototype for romantic relationships throughout life • Erikson’s approach • 1st developmental stage: birth – 1 yr: Trust vs. mistrust • Children become attached to people who minister to needs • Importance of mother’s overall responsiveness

  7. Theories of AttachmentCognitive-Developmental Approach • Little to say about which people to whom one becomes attached • Suggests that attachment depends, in part, on level of cognitive development • Must be able to discriminate familiar persons from strangers • Must recognize that familiar persons have permanence – object permanence abilities, as discussed earlier • Thus, timing of attachment related to timing of development of cognitive ability

  8. Theories of AttachmentEthological Approach John Bowlby • Central feature of theory • Babies born with in-born set of behaviors • Behaviors elicit parent care, thus increase change of survival

  9. Theories of AttachmentEthological Approach John Bowlby • The developmental course of attachment • The preattachment phase (birth – 6 wks) • Behavior a matter of genetically determined reflexive responses with survival value • Promote physical contact • Attachment in the making (6 wks – 6/8 mos) • Orient and respond with preference towards mom • No specific attachment yet • The phase of clearcut attachment (6/8 mos – 18/24 mos) • Shows separation anxiety • Mom as a “safe haven” • Formation of a reciprocal relationship (18/24 mos – ) • Decrease in separation anxiety

  10. Theories of AttachmentEthological Approach • Four phases produce enduring affectionate tie to caregiver • Use as a secure based in parent’s absence • Used as an internal working model • Produces attachment-related expectations for parental comfort and support • Johnson, Dweck, & Chen (2007) • Habituated to display of small and large ovals • Tested with responsive and unresponsive caregiver

  11. Measurement of AttachmentThe Strange Situation Mary Ainsworth (nee Salter) • Background • University of Toronto B.A., M.A., & Ph.D • Ph.D supervisor – William E. Blatz (child development and security theory) • Moved to England in 1950, worked at the Tavistock Clinic with John Bowlby • Moved to Uganda in 1953 • Moved to Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD) in 1955

  12. Measurement of AttachmentThe Strange Situation

  13. Measurement of AttachmentPatterns of Attachment • Securely Attached • Distressed during separation • Seeks out mother during reunion • About 60% of North-American infants • Insecure – Avoidant • Unresponsive to mom • Avoids parent during reunion • About 15% of North-American infants • Insecure – Resistant • Seeks closeness to mom, fails to explore • Combines clinginess and resistant behavior upon return • About 10% of North-American infants • Insecure – Disorganized/Disoriented • Combination of avoidant and ambivalent/resistant • Confusion over whether to approach or avoid • During reunion may act dazed or freeze • About 15% of North-American infants

  14. Measurement of AttachmentAttachment Q-sort • Observation of 90 behaviors • “The child greets the mother with a big smile when entering the room” • “When the mother moves far away, the child follows along” • “The child uses the mother’s facial expression as a good source of information about something risky” • Sorted into 9 categories • Not at all descriptive – Highly descriptive

  15. Factors Affecting the Developmentof Attachment René Spitz • Early availability of a consistent caregiver • Work with institutionalized infants (Spitz, 1946) • Work with infants in institution with good infant-caregiver ratio, but high staff turnover • Research on adoption of European orphans • Indiscriminate friendliness • ERP differences in the processing of emotional information

  16. Factors Affecting the Developmentof Attachment • Early availability of a consistent caregiver • Work with institutionalized infants (Spitz, 1946) • Work with infants in institution with good infant-caregiver ratio, but high staff turnover • Research on adoption of European orphans • Indiscriminate friendliness • ERP differences in the processing of emotional information • Quality of caregiving • Impact of sensitive caregiving • How crucial are such factors? • Gusii of Kenya • Mothers in Puerto Rico • Infant characteristics • Infant difficulties and temperament • Combination of factors • Family circumstances • Stressors in the family • Parent’s own history of attachment • Internal working models and reconstructed memories