• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Critically discuss the implications of attachment theory for different forms of childcare

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

TMA 03 Critically discuss the implications of attachment theory for different forms of childcare Developmental psychologists are interested in the study of the individual from conception to old age. One area of particular interest is the significance of parent-child bonding. Attachment can be defined as 'an enduring bond of affection directed towards a specific individual' (Santrock, 2001). The nature of the relationship between early attachment and later development is a central issue in developmental psychology and, given the increasing proportion of women with young children that go out to work, of specific interest is the quality of care-giving that infants receive. This paper will firstly describe the essential features of the attachment theory followed by a critical evaluation of John Bowlby's maternal deprivation hypothesis. An examination will be made of the work carried out by Mary Ainsworth (1978) on the nature of attachment relationships and finally an evaluation of the ways in which these theories and research implicate different forms of childcare will be explored. John Bowlby (1930-80), was the key figure in the development of attachment theory; the theory that children have a drive to feel secure by forming an emotional bond with a primary care giver. Bowlby (1951) developed his theory of maternal deprivation based on research he carried out on juvenile delinquents who had experienced long periods of separation from their primary care giver in the first few years of their lives. ...read more.

Middle

and Tizard and Hodges (1978) caution that while children can be cared for and attached to more than one adult, having a large number of caregivers may have an adverse effect on their ability to develop close relationships. Bowlby's maternal deprivation hypothesis was further developed by the work of Mary Ainsworth (1969), who devised a method for observing and assessing the attachment behaviour babies' display towards their mothers/caregivers. This is known as the Strange Situation (ED209 TV4 programme) and is essentially a method for measuring a one year-old's attachment to its mother and assessing how the child reacts to separation and more importantly to reunion with its mother when placed in a slightly stressful situation. Briefly, the experiment involves taking mother and child to a strange room and observing the child's responses to the introduction of a stranger, the mother's departure, reunion with the mother, leaving the child alone for a few minutes in the room (most stressful event), and leaving the child alone with the stranger. Researchers classify the maternal-child attachment relationship based on the child's behaviour during reunion with the mother. Ainsworth suggests that attachment relations fall into three categories: securely attached, insecure-avoidant and insecure-ambivalent infants. Sometimes an additional category (disorganised) has been used. According to Ainsworth securely attached infants explore freely when their mother is present and use her as a secure base when a stranger appears. ...read more.

Conclusion

Crockenburg (1981) found that babies who were irritable after birth were less likely to attract responsive care from their mother and also less likely to develop a secure attachment with their mothers as assessed in the strange situation. The transactional model (Oates, 1994) takes into account this bi-directional reciprocal relationship between caregivers and their children, thereby supporting a more interactive model of attachment which better explains the active contribution of children, their caregivers and the day-care context in developing attachment styles of individuals. The foregoing discussion clearly shows that it's not possible generalise about the implications of day-care on attachment. There are many factors to be taken into account for example the circumstances surrounding a mother's decision to work full time, the nature and age of the child and the different forms of child care available. As has been discussed, it is very important to match or find a 'good fit' between the child's behaviour and the type of care he/she receives. Fortunately, the body of recent research and evidence supports this view and highlights the shift in developmental psychology away from the universal monotropic model of attachment towards a more flexible perspective which emphasises the importance individual differences and cultural context, namely that of the social cultural perspective. Nonetheless, the work of Bowlby and Ainsworth has been very important and cannot be disregarded. It has provided a base for future researchers to explore attachment and different forms of childcare which is and will continue to be a central issue in developmental psychology. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Developmental Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Developmental Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Behaviourist Perspective

    3 star(s)

    I decided to write in my evaluation the assumptions and basic principles as well as contributions of behaviourism. Assumptions and basic principles * Behaviourism is scientific because it's 'done' in a labotory under strict control. * Watson considered radical behaviourist * Pavlov and Skinner are rather less dogmatic behaviourists (as are Hull and Tollman).

  2. Marked by a teacher

    The Strange situation has been used in many different countries to investigate attachments." Outline ...

    All securely attached children were the same at age 6; 75% of avoidant children were the same at age 6. However, anomalies could have appeared due to change in environment or situation. The validity of the SS, shows the assessment of how securely attached an infant is.

  1. Outline and evaluate Bowlby's maternal deprivation hypothesis.

    A study of 2000 boys between the ages of 9 and 12 living on the Isle of Wight and in London (1976) looked at the relationship between separation and delinquency. It was found that it is conflict and stress which precedes separation rather than separation itself that is the likely underlying cause of anti-social behaviour.

  2. define attachment and criticise Bowlby's theory of maternal deprivation

    'Stranger Situation' identified three types of attachment in the infants that were observed. Anxious avoidant (15%) where baby ignores mother, is unaffected by her lack of presence. Few/no signs of distress when mother departs. Ignores mother on her return. Infant were distressed at being left alone rather than being left by mother.

  1. Evaluate the contribution of John Bowlby to the development of the theory of attachment.

    Further support for Bowlby was gained by Mary Ainsworth's 'strange situation' experiments (1978). Harlow (1958) is another name that appears synonymous with any discussion on attachment. Harlow was to produce further support for Bowlby by experimenting on Rhesus monkeys. In this case the infant/caregiver separation resulted in the infant becoming disturbed, aggressive and withdrawn.

  2. "Growing up" - Joyce Cary.

    So, basically, the last theme might be of self-consciousness - especially Robert's concerns about his vanishing dignity and the meaning of his life, as his children become independent.

  1. MENTORSHIP ASSESSING

    first patient and then observing Rachel carrying out the skill with the second patient, would be appropriate. Learning Outcome 6.3. Quinn (2000) alleges that a teaching plan can help to minimize the chances of omitting some vital part of the session to ensure that all the necessary factors have been considered.

  2. Investigate the stages that infants go through when developing attachments.

    The work was also objective and value free. This all makes the learning theory of attachment high in reliability. * The theory makes common sense and emphasises on the relationship of food as a reinforcer for attachment. Weaknesses - * The person to whom an infant is attached is not always the person who feeds them.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work