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

Evaluating the different theories of attachment.

Extracts from this document...


BY KURSHA PEARSON In this essay I will be evaluating the different theories of attachment. Attachment is a strong, long-lasting emotional tie or bond to a particular individual, usually the mother and psychologists believe that this attachment is important for later development. Most researchers believe that attachment develops through three stages. Two of the most influential accounts of these stages are by Rudolph Schaffer and Peggy Emerson (1964) and John Bowlby (1969). They called these stages the asocial stage or pre-attachment phase, indiscriminate attachments or attachments in the making and the final stage, specific attachments or clear cut attachments. In the first phase (asocial stage or pre attachment phase) Schaffer and Emerson thought that babies in this stage are not social and that they respond to people in the same way as they do to other things such as puppets or balloons and that they do not show any recognition to people. Bowlby did not agree with this statement as he believed that because babies can cry and smile etc that this was their way of being social towards people. In later research it was suggested that babies were not as asocial as Schaffer and Emerson first thought because babies seemed to be more settled with their main caregiver. ...read more.


There are three main advantages to this experiment, they are that this experiment can be easily replicated and that all infants are responding to a similar situation so any differences can not be because they are in different situations. The experiment provides a variety of measures for assessing the attachment relationship. This is really important because a single measure can give false impressions. Research indicates that different types of attachment may have different effects on the child's development. Not all evaluations of this experiment have been as positive, there are three main criticisms, these are that firstly, it has been criticised for being unrealistic and that the setting is not true to life and that it does not reflect everyday situations and as a result of this it may not be possible to generalise the findings to real life settings. Secondly, the experiment was created in the USA and contained American infants, so would different societies react differently to this experiment. Thirdly, the ethics have been questioned, is it acceptable to place infants and caregivers in these situations which can produce anxiety? Researchers believe that any stress has only short term effects. ...read more.


Bowlby used this to support his maternal deprivation hypothesis. James and Joyce Robertson also showed evidence of the maternal deprivation hypothesis, by a young boy going into residential care for nine days and while he was there he changed rapidly from cheerful and affectionate to withdrawn and despairing. On return home he was rejecting towards his mother and had severe behavioural problems. Bowlby and the Robertsons were the first to outline the protest despair detachment model which is the sequence of stages the infant is likely to go through if they are separated from their attachment figure. Protest is when the child cries but can be comforted, despair is when the child becomes calmer and appears apathetic and detachment may occur after prolonged separation. Different children respond to separation differently, some of the main factors for them reacting differently are: age, strange environment, multiple attachments, continuity, and experience of separation, individual differences and family circumstances. Researchers say that early fears on the effect of working mothers on their children were greatly exaggerated and in fact some research suggests that these effects can be beneficial by giving the infant more independence and be more self sufficient than infants in full time mother care. THEORIES OF ATTACHMENT 1 ...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. counselling stages of attachement

    This means it has a high level of reliability. Weaknesses - * The original pieces of research lacked ecological validity. This is because the strange situation is in a lab setting, which could lead to the behaviour of the children being different.

  2. "Growing up" - Joyce Cary.

    This also happens in the story Growing up, as Kate and Jenny always lived under wild conditions, with absolute no care or interference from the parents - this made them grow up to become wild and quite savage in their own way.


    Jasper and Rolfe (1993, cited in Goode 1998 p87) conclude that students who play a major part in what and how they learn become autonomous and grow into autonomous practitioners. Maslow (1971) made a significant contribution to the humanist approach with his theory of motivation and hierarchy of needs.

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

    They showed intense distress when left alone, due to child rearing practices. (children in japan and rarely left by their mothers) * In Germany a high proportion were avoidant. The infants paid little attention to their mother coming or going, due to child rearing practices.

  1. Attachment and Separation.

    Optimal attachment occurs when a caregiver recognizes and responds to the infant's signals and cues, meeting the infant's physical and emotional needs; and when the caregiver regularly engages the child in lively social interactions. Studies of infants raised in institutional settings suggest that neither behavior alone is sufficient for secure attachment.

  2. Reactive Attachment Disorder

    The ratio of staff to children in Eastern European orphanages consequently results in a severe deficit of sensitive care that is essential for normal development and growth (Federici, 1998). Institutionalized children appear to have a significantly elevated risk for serious disturbances of attachment (Zeanah, 2000).

  1. Infant's Attachments

    These differences were found to continue into adolescence. Sroufe believes that a secure attachment increases the child's confidence. In turn, this confidence helps the child in other areas (Gershaw). Unfortunately, there is also overwhelming evidence that insecure attachments can hurt a child's personality development and can lead to social problems in school and adulthood.

  2. In this essay I will be looking at two theories of attachment, Kegan et ...

    He also developed the Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis, where he claimed that infants who were unable to develop attachments would grow up having problems with relationships and have a higher chance of behavioural disorders. This hypothesis was supported by other psychologists such as Spitz and Wolf (1946)

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