Discuss research into cultural variations in attachment
Discuss reaserch into cultural variations in attachment (12 marks)
Many different psychologists have carried out reaserch into cultural variations in attachment. Van Ijzendoor and Kroonenberg conducted a meta analysis using the findings of 32 different studdies into attachment. They found that in German infants were mostly avoidant and in Japan and Israel infants were more resistantly attached which shows a difference in attachment accross cultures. However, they also found out that the United States had the most securely attached infants which is a similarity as Ainsworth found that a secure attachment was the most common. Takahashi's reaserch also found a differencein attachment across cultures. Middle class Japanese infants and mothers were studdied. They showed high rates of insecure-resistant attachement, the opposit to what Ainsworth found. Grossman and Grossman also found that German infants were generally classified as insecurely attached which supports the idea that there are cultural variations in attachment because insecurely attached is usually the minority. Fox found a similarity in attachment across cultures by studdying children in a children's home. It was found that infants had a greater attachment to their mothers, despite spending most of their time with nurses. This supports the idea of monotropy and that attachment is innate as Bowlby suggested. Tronik et al also found support for monotropy and primary attachment figure in other cultures. They studdied African Tribes where infants were brestfead by different women but always slept with their mother at night and when the infants were 6 months they still showed their mother as the primary attachement figure.
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Posada and Jacobs argue that it is not important whether sensitivity leads to independance or independance and suggested that sensitivity will always lead to a secure attachment, regaurdless of the culture. Therefore it doesn't matter how an attachment is manifested, only that sensitivity leads to secure attachment.
However, Rosenbaum argued that attachment theory reaserch is not relevant to other cultures. He used the idea of the sensitivity hypothesis to argue that it only reflects Westurn culture ideas and in Japan sensitivity is about promoting dependance. Showing that sensitivity has the opposit aim in the two cultures. Therefore we can not generalise sensitivity from one culture to another.
A validity issue of the reaserch into cultural variations in attachment is that it may be difficult to make generalisations about cultures because of subcultures. For example, rural cultures may be different to urban cultures in the same society and social class may also cause a difference in behaviour. Therefore caution should be taken in assuming that an individual sample is representative of one culture
Another validity issue is surrounding the results of the strange situation in Japan which may be due to imposed etic to measure attachment. Japanese children may appear to be insecurely attached according to Western criteria, but they may be securely attached according to Japanese criteria. This therefore shows that it may be the "tool" (the strange situation in this case) used to measure attachment which may cause the validity issues when conducting reaserch across cultures.