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A Critical Review of Waters, E., Merrick, S., Treboux, D., Crowell, J., & Albersheim, L. (2000). Attachment Security in Infancy and Early Childhood: A Twenty-Year Longitudinal Study.

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A Critical Review of Waters, E., Merrick, S., Treboux, D., Crowell, J., & Albersheim, L. (2000). Attachment Security in Infancy and Early Childhood: A Twenty-Year Longitudinal Study. Child Development, 71, 684-689. Introduction The development of attachment relationships between children and parents represents one of the most important aspects of human social and emotional development. Depending on the degree or nature of the initial developing relationship, a child's personality and/or social experiences can be affected (Rutter, 1989, 1990) i.e. enhanced or damaged. John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth are two of the most prominent theorists in the field of the attachments. Bowlby's theory of attachment represents the most comprehensive theory of human interaction. Influenced by the theories of both Freud and the ethnologists he formulated the basic tenets of the theory suggesting that a child's subsequent socio-emotional well-being can be affected by disruptions in the patterns of early infant care (Bowlby, 1973, 1980). His observations led him to believe that so-called deviant adolescents were the result of serious disruptions and the pattern of parental care administered to them in childhood. ...read more.


Further analysis would examine both the stability of attachment in other populations and the mechanisms involved in change. Evaluation As the paper hypothesised, changes in attachment patterns correlate directly with experiencing negative life events. As shown, a relationship between experiencing negative life events and changing attachment security is evident however causality is not necessarily negatively skewed; results indicate that possibilities to prevail initial behaviour patterns is probable. This conclusion is supported by Sroufe (1988) who stated that a stable relationship with a supportive partner can have the ability to reverse attachment patterns from insecure to secure. Although the paper shows a significant result, the sample size may not entirely represent a significant enough population. 32 out of the 50 had experienced no NLE, therefore these result can not be included, leaving only the 18 remaining being relevant to the hypothesis. However, it must be noted at this point, middle-class participants where used in the study, this enabled the full co-operation and overall general interest of participants to be re-contacted, in addition, representing a large segment of the population. ...read more.


Both the strange situation and AAI relies on observational methods as a means of assessing relationship patterns within a given setting, however behaviour observed at a given time may not entirely represent a person typical behaviour therefore reliability of data can be questioned. This was point was highlighted within the paper, attributing a 10% measurement error to both these methods. Although the 'strange situation' and AAI has been extensively criticised, it is the most widely used technique for measuring the quality of attachments. Conclusion In conclusion, the paper under review illustrates stability and change of attachment organisations from infancy to late adolescence/early adulthood in addition to providing information about the relationship between negative life events and changes in attachment classification. The utilisation of the SSP and AAI enabled attachment classifications to be measured and further analysed for relationship changes however flawed methodological errors generates doubt regarding reliability of data. Further research would suggest implementing several other additional measures for validating attachment behaviours, increasing sample sizes and focus attention on either the lower or upper class population. ...read more.

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