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Outline research (theories and/or studies) into privation and consider how the research helps us to understand the effects of privation.

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Introduction

Outline research (theories and/or studies) into privation and consider how the research helps us to understand the effects of privation. Privation describes the lack of an attachment bond between infant and caregiver. Rutter distinguished between deprivation and privation; the differences being deprivation is the physical loss of a bond which has already been formed whereas privation is where the bond has never existed in the first place. Deprivation has short-term effects e.g. protest, despair, detachment and in the long-term can have emotional effects such as separation anxiety. However privation has much more serious long-term effects such as 'affectionless psycopathy', 'developmental retardation' and other negative effects on emotional and social development. Deprivation is reversible if substitute care is available during the bond separation but it is unclear as to whether or not the effects of privation are reversible; isolation case studies and research into the effects of institutionalisation look at the effects privation can have on a child's development. Hodges and Tizard (1989) undertook a study to find out whether early privation did have long-term effects. They carried out a longitudinal study of 65 children placed in one institution at less than four months old, an age at which it is believed children do not yet have attachments. ...read more.

Middle

In their 20's the ex-institutional women had more difficulty acting as parents, had children who spent more time in care and were lacking in warmth when interacting with their children. This supports the idea that privation has irreversible consequences (Rutter) such as being able to form loving, intimate and secure relationships in later life. Throughout history there have been case studies recorded of children having been raised in conditions of extreme isolation and privation; therefore lacking in emotional care. Curtis (1989) studied Genie, a girl who spent most of her childhood locked in a room because her father considered her to be retarded. She had little contact with family members and was discouraged from making sounds. She was discovered in 1970, 13 1/2 years old, she hadn't been fed adequately and couldn't stand erect. She also had no social skills, didn't understand language and couldn't speak. However she was given a considerable amount of education in the years after she was found and her ability to perform task that didn't depend on sound rapidly improved. She did adopt a fairly large vocabulary her language skills failed to reach normal levels. She spoke in short ungrammatical sentences and didn't understand grammatically complex sentences. Her social skills remained limited due to the fact her language was poor and she remained uninterested in people. ...read more.

Conclusion

They develop a protective emotional 'shell', isolating themselves from the pain of failing to make an attachment. This 'shell' is difficult to remove as it is the sufferer's way of coping. Therefore those who try to remove it are seen as a threat, so children turn against those who want to help them - caregivers. If untreated children suffering from this disorder may grow up to be sociopaths. A sociopath fails to develop a conscience and does not learn to trust others. They also lack the ability to be genuinely affectionate and are unable to form loving and lasting intimate relationships. The difficulty with all of this research is we can't be sure in all cases whether or not the children were attached to someone during their sensitive years and what the quality of that attachment was. In order to assess whether privation does have a profound effect it needs to be clear whether they formed any continuous and secure attachments. In conclusion, there is a wide range of research which helps us to understand the effects of privation and the circumstances in which these effects can be overcome. However the development of children is vulnerable to many influences of which a lack of an attachment bond which although may be important is not possibly the only one. ...read more.

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