Describe and evaluate an application of Ainsworth's strange situation in child attachment.

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Rebecca and her one year old child participated in a child psychology study using the strange situation procedure. Her child was assessed as being securely attached. Her friend, who also had a small child, lived in a different country and Rebecca wondered if they were also securely attached. Using the work of Ainsworth, describe the behaviour that Rebecca’s child might show and explain cross-cultural issues regarding child-rearing styles.         (12 marks)

 When a child is securely attached to their mother Ainsworth suggested that when in the presence of their mother the child will behave pleasantly and independently and this is how we would expect Rebecca’s child to behave when she is with Rebecca. When the stranger enters the room whilst Rebecca is present, the child would behave indifferently and ignore the presence of the stranger. However when Rebecca leaves the room and the child is left alone with the stranger, the child will become distressed and upset. The child would ignore the stranger, and displays signs of fear.  The child is not comforted by the stranger. When Rebecca and her child are reunited the child is quickly soothed and the child resumes playing and exploring.

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The strange situation has been used in many different cultures to measure attachment type and it is possible that Rebecca’s friend’s child may behave differently to Rebecca’s child due to cultural differences in the upbringing of the children. An example of this can be seen between German and Japanese children. Germany was found to have a great number of anxious resistant types, it was concluded that this was because many German parents encourage their children to be independent and are therefore used to the absence of their mother. On the other hand in Japan there was a high number of ...

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