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Consider what psychological research has shown us about cross-cultural variations in attachment

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13th September 2005 Louise Collins Consider what psychological research has shown us about cross-cultural variations in attachment Researchers in many different countries have used the Strange Situation to investigate secure and insecure attachment. The results of 32 such studies undertaken in eight different countries have been summarised by Van Ijzendoorn and Kroonenberg (1988). Bee (1999) points out that the most striking finding is that there is considerable consistency across cultures, and concludes that it is likely that the same caregiver-infant interactions contribute to secure and insecure attachments in all cultures. However, fours countries stand out in this research as having a larger than average proportion of insecurely attached children: Japan, Israel, Germany and China. In the study cited in Van Ijzendoorn and Kroonenburg's research, 25% of Japanese children were insecure resistant in their attachment organisation. Takahashi challenged these findings and set up a study to consider whether it is appropriate to use the Strange Situation procedure with Japanese children. ...read more.


The first being the way in which the infants responded to separation and being left alone. This maybe due to the fact that Japanese infants experience much less separation, they generally sleep with their parents until over 2 years of age, are carried around on their mothers' backs and bathe with their parents. As a result, Japanese children are rarely left alone. This means that for Japanese children, the Strange Situation was more than mildly stressful, they were suffering extreme stress - this was not the original aim of the Strange Situation. Secondly, Japanese infants shoed a total lack of avoidant behaviour in this sample; this is another cultural factor. Japanese children are taught that such behaviour is impolite and are actively discouraged from displaying it. This means that the strange Situation does not have the same meaning for Japanese children as it does for American participants and is therefore, not a valid assessment of that culture, Takahashi proved this. ...read more.


Some of the behaviour shown in the Strange Situation which is supposed to indicate secure attachment was seen by German parents as evidence e of 'clingy' and 'spoilt' behaviour. As a result of the norms and values directed at childrearing in Germany, a high proportion of attachments were classified as insecure-avoidant. Finally, cross-cultural studies have found a relationship between secure attachment and later adjustment. For example, in a study of Israeli infants, Sagi (1990) found that securely attached infants were later rated as having better social skills. This supports that secure attachment is important in all cultures for healthy psychological development. Thus it follows that it is unlikely that any thriving culture would have such high proportions of insecurely attached children. In view of this and the evidence cited above it would appear that the Strange Situation may be a culturally specific way of assessing security of attachment and it is this which is responsible for cultural variations in the proportion of children in each attachment category. ...read more.

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This essay covers the the topic in some detail showing an understanding of the subject. However, the latter part of the essay is a bit thin on the ground and possibly rushed. The writer clearly understands what cultural variation means and has produced evidence to explain some of the cross cultural variations. However, a little more time should have been spent on the differences with Israeli children since many are brought up in collectives, with many care givers.

The essay needs a bit more structure and a better introduction and conclusion. However, the writer has summarised most of the research well and if the latter part was improved upon this essay would be marked far higher.

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Marked by teacher Linda Penn 01/05/2013

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