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“Bowlby’s maternal deprivation hypothesis states that any separation during the critical stage of development will affect the child in later life” Critically consider this statement in reference to cognitive and for social development.

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"Bowlby's maternal deprivation hypothesis states that any separation during the critical stage of development will affect the child in later life" Critically consider this statement in reference to cognitive and for social development. Concerns about the long-term effects of separation were given an impetus by Bowlby's report in 1944 that delinquency was associated with young children's separation from their mother. He suggested that the separation was the cause of the delinquency. Bowlby developed the idea that if an infant was unable to develop a 'warm, intimate and continuous relationship with his mother' then the child would have difficulty forming relationships with other people and be at risk of behavioural disorders. This became known as the 'maternal deprivation hypothesis'. One source of evidence was his own research, but there were a number of other studies conducted around the time of the Second World War that indicated a key role for separation. There are various issues to be considered. First, much of the evidence used to support the idea came from studies of children in institutions where they were deprived in many ways. ...read more.


Attachments can be explained in terms of learning theory or Bowlby's theory. Classic and operant conditioning suggest that infants will become attached to the person who feeds them, either by becoming a conditioned stimulus (association) or a secondary reinforcer (drive reduction). However, research doesn't support this reductionist view. Bowlby argued that attachment behaviour is innately adaptive. According to Bowlby, social releasers are important during a critical period of development and later relationships are based on the internal working model. However, Bowlby's theory cannot explain all individual differences, nor the fact that individuals tend to form different kinds of relationship later in life. Secure attachment is claimed to be of prime importance for emotional and social development. Therefore if separation harms attachment, we would expect to see differences in terms of social and emotional development in those children placed in day care. Clarke-Stewart et al. (1994) investigated the relationship between time spent in day care and quality of attachment in over 500 children. ...read more.


In other words, a build-up of negative factors did create problems. Egeland and Hiester (1995) found an interesting interaction effect. This study looked at about 70 children, about half of whom entered day care before the age of 1, and the rest remained at home with their mothers. All the children came from impoverished backgrounds. Security of attachment was assessed in the Strange Situation around the age of 1, and then the children were assessed again at the age of 5 and a half years old, in a structured observation session. Day care appeared to have a negative effect for secure children, but had a positive influence for insecure children. One might be able to explain this in terms of the fact that insecurely attached children needed compensatory education, and therefore benefited from day care, whereas the securely attached children did not require this extra attention. However, later reports on socio-emotional development found no differences between the two groups. These findings again suggest that what appears to mater is not the day-care experience itself, but the conditions under which it may be positively beneficial. ...read more.

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