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To what extent do research studies support the view that disruption of attachment bonds has long lasting effects on the individual?

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Introduction

To what extent do research studies support the view that disruption of attachment bonds has long lasting effects on the individual? Many psychologists argue that attachment bonds are extremely essential, not only for an infant in order for them to be fed and loved, but for the future as well. Some evidence has suggested that in fact, a lack of an attachment in younger life can lead for attachments in later life to be bad too - this includes relationships with friends, marriage, and relationships with your family. Therefore it is important that research is carried out on the subject. Bowlby's maternal deprivation hypothesis stated that breaking an attachment bond had long lasting effects on the individuals emotional development, and that the effects were permanent and could not be fixed. He conducted a study that he said proved his hypothesis. ...read more.

Middle

The participants were 100 psychologically normal children in long-term hospital care. Spitz and Wolf found that if the participants were away in hospital for longer than three months, the effects of attachment bonds were long lasting, which supports the theory. However, those in hospital less than three months recovered quickly, which refutes the view. Douglas also conducted an experiment on maternal deprivation and bond breaking. It was a longitudinal study of 5000 children who were assessed regularly up until age 26. This makes the study more reliable because it involved a lot of people and was longitudinal. They found that children who had spent more than one week in hospital, or who had repeated admissions under the age of four were more likely to have behaviour problems in adolescence and be poor readers. This suggests that the disruption of bonds does cause long-term damage as many years later they still showed a lack of development. ...read more.

Conclusion

In 1998, Rutter found similar results to Widdowson. He followed 111 Romanian orphans adopted in the UK before the age of two. They were physically and mentally undeveloped but by the age of 4 they had all improved. Again, this refutes the view that that disruption of attachment bonds has long lasting effects on the individual, because the orphans recovered when they got a caregiver. This study was only based on Romanian children though and the same findings may not apply to children in other parts of the world. Although there are some studies that do support it, it is to a small extent that research studies support the view that the disruption of attachment bonds has long-lasting effects on the individual. This is because most studies found that when the child's situation changed for the better, the child recovered and therefore the effects cannot be long lasting. ...read more.

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