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Bowlby's maternal deprivation hypothesis. To find out if children were deprived of their mother during the critical period of attachment of the first few years of their lives, could a serious range of permanent consequences happen for later development?

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Introduction

Study of 44 juvenile thieves - Bowlby (1944) Aim: Bowlby's maternal deprivation hypothesis. To find out if children were deprived of their mother during the critical period of attachment of the first few years of their lives, could a serious range of permanent consequences happen for later development? Procedure: Conducted research with 88 clients from the child guidance clinic. Forty-four children had been referred to the clinic because of stealing. Bowlby interviewed children and their parents building up a record of their early life experiences. ...read more.

Middle

Other children referred to the clinic had not committed any crimes, they were emotionally maladjusted, but did not show any ant social behaviour. Criticisms: * Data on separation was collected retrospectively and may not be reliable * The evidence is correctional, which means that we can only say that separation and affectionless psychopaths are linked, not that one caused the other. * Some of the children had actually been separated for rather short periods and it is difficult to see how they might be the cause of such a serious condition. ...read more.

Conclusion

Findings: Early follow ups at the age 4 and 8 found that adopted children were doing best in virtually every way when compared to those that had returned home, although they were having more social and cognitive difficulties than a control group of children who had never been in care. This shows that some recovery is possible and that a child's natural home may not be the best. Conclusion: At home the adopted children maintained good relationships because their parents presumably put a lot of effort into the relationship whereas in the bad homes the children had been rejected. Criticisms: Only some of the children were included in the final because of drop out. The results then forma a biased sample. ...read more.

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